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Earth Day Panel: How Samsung, Walmart & the EPA Are Taking Climate Action


Samsung’s Next Generation Leaders (NGL) employee resource group (ERG), which aims to empower a diverse group of emerging leaders at the company, joined forces with our Sustainability team and key stakeholders to host a meaningful Earth Month 2021 panel discussion on the efforts we’re making towards a greener tomorrow.

In recent years, young people have become increasingly involved in shaping the discourse on the climate crisis and have played a role in propelling climate change mitigation efforts. According to Amnesty International, 41% of Millennial and Gen Z Americans say global warming is the most important issue facing the world today. That is why a core focus area for Samsung’s NGL ERG is improving our environmental sustainability and curbing the effects of climate change.

Last week, NGL moderators Alli Chlapaty and Natasha Harvey convened industry leaders for an engaging companywide dialogue on the importance of boldly addressing climate change, the ways in which we’re engaging employees and empowering consumers to make sustainable decisions, and the steps we are taking to increase environmental justice. The panel featured Jill Vohr, Senior Manager, Consumer Marketing, ENERGY STARU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Roberto Bertin, Senior Manager, Sustainability Strategic Initiatives, Walmart; Mark Newton, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Samsung Electronics America; and Brian Philip, Head of General Affairs, Samsung Electronics America.

Among the top six takeaways from the session:

  • Earth Day, An Environmental Movement: The first Earth Day took place 51 years ago on April 22, 1970 – and it included large environmental demonstrations across the country. Later that same year, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. EPA.
  • The Administration’s Race to Zero: The Biden-Harris administration is serious about fighting climate change. They’ve announced several climate-related actions, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and pledging to set the U.S. on the path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • Empowering Consumers to Accelerate Change: Samsung is committed to helping mitigate climate change through our products, practices, and operations, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and circular economy. For instance, we source our electricity needs at all our business sites in the U.S., Europe, and China with 100% renewable power. We’re also empowering consumers to reduce their carbon footprint through the use of efficient products. Since 2009, Samsung product efficiency improvements have enabled consumers to avoid an estimated 270 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
  • Pushing Beyond Sustainability: Walmart has set a goal to become a regenerative company, targeting zero emissions across its global operations by 2040. Together with Walmart, Samsung is able to scale its impact further by participating in Walmart’s Gigaton Challenge, to collectively avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030.
  • Shaping the Future of Work with Sustainability in Mind: Samsung is developing workplace strategies that reflect our commitment to sustainability. We’re doing this by amplifying our alignment with the EPA by creating ENERGY STAR certified workspaces, which already exist in our New York, Washington, D.C., Texas, and South Carolina offices – with more to come, and by supporting our remote workforce with flexible productivity solutions. Samsung is also becoming more intentional about our vision for the hybrid post-pandemic workplace to optimize performance and to create engaging, greener experiences for everyone.
  • Addressing Environmental Justice: Addressing “environmental justice” – an effort to ensure that ALL people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income are entitled to equal protection from environmental harms and risks – is a top priority of the Biden-Harris administration and an ongoing priority for Samsung. In partnership with the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR program, Samsung is focused on “energy equity” by building in energy efficiency across our entire product portfolio at all price points to make energy savings accessible for all communities.

Samsung was recently lauded for its commitment to environmental leadership with the EPA ENERGY STAR Corporate Commitment Award and Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Awards. We have also unveiled several purposeful innovations meant to create a positive long-term impact on our planet like with our Galaxy Upcycling at Home initiative. Samsung recognizes there is more work to be done and we look forward to keeping you updated on how we’re progressing in our sustainability journey.

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