[The ABCs of ESG] ② A Better Future Starts in Brussels: Samsung European Public Affairs Office Employees Discuss Their Culture of ESGShare open/close
Samsung Electronics has announced its new environmental strategy, a comprehensive effort to join the global movement to tackle climate change. At the heart of the new commitment is achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 by using innovative technologies to implement sustainability throughout its production process, product lifecycle and more — enabling a greener future for all.
In line with this vision, ESG — or environmental, social and corporate governance — is much more than a buzzword at Samsung Electronics, and we believe that having a positive impact on the planet starts with our employees. That’s why we’re highlighting Samsung workers around the world who are leading the way in cultivating a culture of sustainability and social responsibility. We’re breaking down the ins and outs of ESG throughout Samsung and answering your questions on how we’re building a better tomorrow for all.
Next in our new series on how Samsung employees worldwide are building a more sustainable future, we have two women blazing the trail, Francesca Falco and Paula Byrne from the Samsung European Public Affairs Office.
A Day in the Lives of ESG Influencers
There’s more to Brussels than chocolate and waffles. Located in Belgium, Brussels is known for being the unofficial capital of the E.U. due to its long history of hosting several principal E.U. institutions, including the European Commission, Council of the European Union, European Council and European Parliament. Since ESG is subject to increasingly heavy European legislation, the Samsung European Public Affairs office based in Brussels is integral to driving the ESG movement across the company and the continent.
Francesca and Paula work together for Samsung in the Brussels European Public Affairs office, reinforcing Samsung’s ESG strategy. “Our office is in charge of government relations with E.U. institutions,” said Francesca. “This includes building and maintaining strong relationships with the E.U., international organizations and other stakeholders in the areas of sustainability and corporate citizenship.”
The pair monitor and offer guidance on sustainability and corporate responsibility across not only the entire product lifecycle but also Samsung’s corporate activities. From publishing regular reports on environmental impact to collaborating with executives to ensure company-wide transparency and creating an overreaching strategy for Europe, these two women unite people and policy to spearhead a sustainable movement across the entirety of Samsung.
So what’s a day in the life like for these ESG experts?
Francesca and Paula go to work by bicycle. For them, sustainability isn’t just a job — it’s a lifestyle. Fortunately, the Samsung office in Brussels makes living green easy for employees. As the office is located in a walkable neighborhood that is well-served by public transport and easily reached by bike, many employees opt for more green ways to commute. This not only reduces their footprint but also earns them some healthy daily exercise.
Once they’re in the office, Francesca and Paula always greet each other before they start their day. Their daily schedules vary widely — ESG is a broad domain, so their agendas are never quite the same.
“One moment I’m organizing an event for students, the next, I’m reading the European Commission’s latest regulation on eco-design, and a moment later, I’m meeting with other companies to discuss energy efficiency,” said Francesca. “I cover a wide range of topics and tasks, so it never gets boring.”
Building Out a More Sustainable Supply Chain
Above all, Paula believes in the power of partnership — which she brings daily to her role as an Environmental Social Governance Expert for Samsung European Public Affairs.
Paula has been most passionate about her work advising suppliers and customers on safety, health, well-being, good labor practices, human rights and the environment, which has already seen fruitful results. As a global company, Samsung’s supply chain has an enormous reach and footprint. By working with the men and women shaping the future of ESG standards in Europe and around the world, Paula too hopes to shape the future of ESG at Samsung.
Samsung has adopted a thorough and transparent evaluation process and criteria for its new suppliers. “Samsung’s Eco-Partner evaluation system ensures that all materials used for Samsung products do not contain harmful chemicals or materials,” explained Paula. “Through this program, Samsung requests that all partner companies meet environmental criteria and evaluate themselves regularly.”
Samsung strives to build strategic partnerships with the best-performing suppliers based on mutual trust and offers its suppliers a variety of programs to support funding, education and innovation.
According to Paula, these partnerships are a perfect win-win for Samsung and its customers to create sustainable value. She plans to achieve greater results by sharing skills and knowledge, building both Samsung and her clients’ reputations as sustainable companies.
Helping Students Stay Safe, Responsible and Healthy Online
As a Senior Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability Expert at Samsung European Public Affairs, Francesca has an interest in managing the company’s Corporate Citizenship activities in Europe, focusing on education and digital well-being.
Working on such a large scale is certainly impressive, but the personal impact Francesca has on people’s daily lives is what excites her the most. One stand-out example was Samsung’s activities promoting online safety among young people, parents and teachers, which was also Francesca’s first project at the company.
“Every year, Samsung sells millions of technological products which could end up in the hands of young consumers,” said Francesca. “I am proud that as a responsible business, in many European countries, we help create awareness and provide the technical tools minors, parents and caretakers need to use our connected devices safely.”
When it comes to Samsung’s approach to online safety, Francesca explained that we must prepare people with digital skills, provide knowledge and tools to use technology thoughtfully and safely and protect users from harmful content or behavior. As part of Samsung’s Better Internet for Kids Youth Pledge, Francesca mobilized several European subsidiaries to work together and organize workshops to involve youth in Samsung’s discussions on age-appropriate design and online safety features.
Francesca even had the chance to present Samsung’s efforts at the 2020 Safer Internet Forum and later, to European institutions and stakeholders — demonstrating the wide reach of her efforts.
“This type of activity, which goes beyond legal compliance, shows that Samsung is putting in genuine efforts to make a better future,” said Francesca. “Now that Samsung has announced its new environmental strategy, we look forward to supporting our headquarters’ climate and circular economy efforts with regional initiatives.”
Growing a Green Company Culture
Francesca and Paula strive to be eco-conscious whether they’re at home or in the office. For instance, both Francesca and Paula try to promote more sustainable choices as part of their office culture, such as reducing paper and plastic use and organizing recycling more efficiently.
Their entire office even got on board, installing a water filtration system for drinking water — in doing so, eliminating the use of plastic bottles — and replacing the coffee capsule machine with a bean-to-cup coffee machine.
After all, when it comes to making changes that protect the planet, Francesca believes it all comes down to mindset.
“The main obstacle to real change is the feeling that individual choices have no or limited impact. This is far from true,” said Francesca. “Our choice of how we get to work, what we eat, how we hold meetings and how many business trips we take can inspire those around us and create a wave of change.”
“We have one planet, and the mistreatment of it affects us all,” added Paula. “It is important to drive employees and consumers to make better choices for the environment. Environmental harm is closely connected to people, our work, our health and the general well-being and stability in our communities.”
Green Is Gold
Over the years, sustainability has gone from a “good to have” to a “must have.” From an individual to a company-wide level, there is a much bigger awareness of the need for ESG in business. This passion starts from its employees and drives positive change at Samsung at all levels: from design and manufacturing to sales and communication.
“It is crucial that my employer is a responsible corporate citizen because I want to work for a company that shares my values and matches my lifestyle choices,” said Francesca. “I love using my knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on the world, and I take great pride in knowing that with Samsung, I contributed to the launch and deployment of environmental and educational activities.”
“Technology can really be used for the good of the planet, profit and people,” added Paula. “Working for a company that considers the care of our planet as a key target is smart and can remain in business for future generations.
Companies have an important role in protecting the ecosystem and preserving natural resources for future generations. At Samsung, we strive to be the most socially responsible workplace we can be and to integrate sustainability into daily life for our employees.
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