What Sustainability Means for Samsung
by Mark Newton, Head of Corporate Sustainability for Samsung Electronics North America
Earth Day is always a time for celebration at Samsung Electronics America, Inc., not just because sustainability is an organizing principle for our company, from our plans to source renewable-energy for 100% of our factories, office buildings and operational facilities in the US, China and Europe by 2020 to responsible recycling of over 100 million pounds of e-waste every year, but also because our approach to innovation extends beyond our products and services and is applied to our approach to environmental responsibility and protection.
As a producer of technology, electronics and home appliances that are loved by consumers around the globe, reducing waste, maximizing energy efficiency and conserving material use is our highest environmental priority – and our biggest opportunity to address climate change.
Today, over 71 percent of all U.S. households own at least one Samsung product. This fact is profound and a central motivator in the work we do every day around energy efficiency and sustainability. At Samsung, we take our responsibility for environmental stewardship seriously and recognize that creating innovative products comes with the responsibility to do so in a way that also creates co-benefits like reduced environmental impact. Not only do we strive to build products and services that allow our customers to thrive, but to do it in a way that also allows the environment to thrive by minimizing environmental impact. We integrate this into all we do because it’s the right thing to do.
This year, Samsung was proud to receive the EPA’s highest honor in the ENERGY STAR® awards category for the 6th consecutive year. The recognition marks a long-time commitment to offering a wide range of ENERGY STAR-certified products.
For example, last year we introduced our new ductless Heat Pump Dryer with Smart Control that is 25% more efficient than conventional dryers and just one of our ENERGY STAR Most Efficient-certified home appliances that underscores how Samsung’s unparalleled approach to achieve both energy savings as well as innovative design and function doesn’t compromise performance for the consumer.
This philosophy is also carried through to our ongoing commitment to reduce e-waste by extending usability through our extensive Customer Care service and authorized repair network. Then, at the end of a product’s life, we are an industry leader in supporting responsible collection and e-waste recycling practices. To put it simply, our goal is to make recycling of old, unwanted or non-working electronics as easy as product purchases. We do this by supporting 500 drop off locations and recycling events for e-waste across the U.S. and continue to work with our recycling partners to expand the collection network.
Through our collection networks, Samsung collects and recycles more than 100 million pounds of e-waste every year and contracts preferentially with recyclers who have attained e-Stewards certification, which complies with the Basel Action Network’s guidelines to prevent harmful e-waste from being exported to the developing world. Last year, Samsung also launched BAN’s EarthEye™ service for tracking the e-waste journey using GPS.
By the end of 2019, Samsung, with its certified partners, will have collected more than one billion pounds of e-waste in the U.S. and seven billion pounds globally since 2008. Furthermore, by 2020, 100 percent of the paper used in our packaging and product manuals will be sustainably sourced from third-party certified providers to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. These are just a few of the ways in which we continuously incorporate an environmentally-conscious approach at all points of a product’s lifecycle.
Here in the U.S., we’re honoring Earth Day in various ways, including extending placement of E-waste recycling bins available at main office locations to encourage and enable employees to easily and safely discard e-waste from mobile phones, computers and network equipment to monitors and TVs. We’re encouraging all our employees and business partners to sign the Energy Star Pledge to take energy saving actions at home that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help protect our planet.
For our employees we’re also tackling plastic-straw pollution by handing out reusable stainless-steel straws. And for the third year in a row, in March, U.S. and global SAMSUNG locations marked Earth Hour by switching off lights for one hour to raise awareness about environmental issues and energy inequality.
At Samsung, sustainability is not just a buzzword we use without conviction to back it up, it’s a discipline we practice every day throughout our business and, more importantly, a company value we strive to reflect through our world-changing technologies.