[The ABCs of ESG] ③ Recover, Recycle, Reuse: Sustainability Expert Luiz Xavier Explains the Re+ Program at Samsung BrazilShare 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 more sustainable 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 series on how Samsung employees worldwide are building a more sustainable future, we have one man making a difference for consumers and the climate, Luiz Xavier from the Samsung Brazil Office.
Giving New Life to Old Products: Re+, Samsung’s Recycling Program
Luiz Xavier, Head of Customer Satisfaction team at Samsung Brazil office, is in charge of all areas of customer service, from planning, implementing and improving to creating positive customer experience. “Modern consumers want more than a quality product or a friendly customer service experience,” explained Luiz. “Instead, they want to support a company that protects people and the planet.”
At the heart of Samsung is an environmental strategy consisting of comprehensive global efforts to tackle climate change. Within Brazil, that strategy resulted in the Re+ program, a recycling, awareness and educational program spearheaded by Luiz and his team. The mission? Don’t let e-waste go to waste. By providing the processes that empower consumers to collect and correctly dispose of electronics, Luiz not only puts a smile on customers’ faces but also lays the groundwork for a better tomorrow.
E-waste, or electronic waste, is products that are unwanted, not working and nearing or at the end of their useful life.
“Consider this extremely common scenario: you upgrade your cell phone and dump the old one in a junk drawer, just in case,” said Luiz. “However, by hanging onto this phone, you have sidelined a device that probably had some life left in it. What’s more, by not recycling the old one right away, you’ve reduced the chance of it being reused.”
“In general, our haste to get new gear and our hesitancy to then part with our old items are what’s making discarded electronics the world’s fastest-growing category of domestic waste,” he added.
Collectively, Brazilians have more than 240 million smartphones for a population of less than 215 million. If you add in notebooks and tablets, the number jumps to over 350 million, or 1.6 items per person, according to a Brazilian school Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV)1 survey.
The issue of e-waste is large and ongoing, and solving it will require that both private and public sectors get on the same wavelength. Samsung has always been focused on using technology to empower people and improve their lives – which is where Re+ comes into action.
So, what is Re+, exactly? This global recycling program first arrived in Brazil in 2017 and offered consumers a free, eco-conscious and practical way to recycle or dispose of their electronic products and home appliances. This isn’t just for Samsung devices, either. Re+ accepts items from any brand, including batteries, cell phones, notebooks, refrigerators, washing machines and other broken, used or unused products.
“Samsung set up about 350 collection bins for small items of all brands in Samsung Electronics Stores and Samsung Experience Stores in Brazil.” For larger electronic products, such as televisions, refrigerators and washing machines, consumers could schedule pick-ups at their homes.
Luiz was proud to report that, as of the first half of 2022, Samsung achieved a 190% growth in the number of items collected compared to the same period in 2021. However, he has his sights set even higher.
“More than promoting recycling and the correct disposal of electronics and reducing the impacts of technology on the environment, our mission with Re+ is to increase consumer awareness of the importance of a complete and responsible cycle of relationship with products,” said Luiz. He noted that the biggest challenge was expanding customer awareness about the program.
“Despite the significant results achieved in 2022, there is still room for improvement and further engaging Brazilians in the recycling movement,” he added.
As a result, Luiz and his team participated in education programs at schools and launched various campaigns and events to raise awareness of the importance of recycling – ensuring that future generations will grow up appreciating the planet and the role they play in preserving it.
One campaign illustrated just how easy and practical it is to discard electronics that waste away at home. As TV plays a fundamental role in the lives of Brazilians, At the end of the video, the screen displayed a QR Code that led to the Re+’s main page, offering details on how products of all sizes are collected, disposed and recycled so that the raw material can be reused in the production chain.
You can watch the Re+ campaign video below.
Making Recycling Fun for the Whole Family
For Luiz, sustainability runs in the family. As he worked in the tech industry for years, disposing of electronic waste in an eco-conscious way has always been on his radar. However, he wanted to transition from simply working green to living green every day. As a result, and engaged in other eco-conscious practices, like reducing excessive use of resources and always cleaning their recyclable packaging before discarding it. What’s more, his family actively advocates for and participates in Re+ by contributing smartphones, chargers, cables and headphones to the program.
“More than participating, we also always seek to spread messages about sustainability and the correct disposal of electronics among our family and friends,” said Luiz. “We believe that this awareness is essential to advance in the direction of environmental preservation.”
Luiz says he’s passionate about sustainability because he understands its value and how it can achieve a better world for the people of today and tomorrow. So for him, it’s easy to go green as a family.
“When we tackle that as a family, we can help the next generations to learn about it, and we foster the mindset and culture of sustainability, so the children start spreading it by talking to their friends and colleagues too,” said Luiz.
For those who want to pass along the values of sustainability to their families and friends, he suggests two basic tips that anyone can try: 1. talk more about sustainability and 2. lead by example. In these ways, you can inspire others through your actions, not just your words.
Luiz practiced those two simple tips in his own family, and he is very proud to report that his children now consider sustainability in everything they do. “My family feels proud that they are participating in the Re+ program,” he said. “They mention it to their relatives and friends anytime they can.”
Happy People, Happy Planet: Inspiring the World
As a leader in technology innovation and prioritizing customer experience, Samsung strives to make the planet a happy, healthy place for all – and its customers are taking notice.
“Our customers in Brazil recognize that Samsung, through its programs such as Re+, constantly strives to be a responsible company,” said Luiz. “Sustainability is at the heart of our product journey, so our consumers know that our innovations have the planet in mind at every touchpoint — from design to product disposal. I feel honored and motivated to be able to actively contribute to this movement, and I look forward to the next steps.”
A recent survey conducted by Samsung in partnership with MindMiners shows that Brazilian consumers know the importance of engaging in sustainability actions. 94% of the interviewees said that they consider recycling habits to be very important and are also worried about the impact of their actions on the environment. However, the same survey pointed out that only 62% of Brazilians who practice recycling habits also correctly dispose of electronic items.
“As a country with a rich biodiversity, Brazil is presented with a wide range of challenges when it comes to sustainability,” noted Luiz. “Samsung has a consistent ESG agenda, which motivates me even more to contribute to and engage in programs like Re+. This is why it is so gratifying for me to participate in this movement of environmental education in my country. The growth in the Re+ numbers is a sign that we are on the right path and a great incentive for us to continue with sustainable projects and initiatives in 2023 and beyond.”
Learn more about Samsung Electronics’ sustainability initiatives here.
1 Source: 32nd edition of the FGV Annual Survey on the Brazilian IT Market and Use in Companies by the Applied Information Technology Center of the São Paulo Business Administration School of the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGVcia), prepared by Professor Fernando Meirelles
Corporate > Citizenship