Sony received the top grade in Greenpeace East Asia’s first regional tech ranking, at a C+, illustrating how the tech industry still has a major task ahead to reduce its carbon emissions. Samsung Electronics and Xiaomi were two of the lowest scoring companies in the ranking due to their lack of global 100% renewable energy commitments and emission reduction targets.
“Last year, China, Japan and South Korea issued landmark climate pledges, but the biggest tech companies in our region haven’t caught on. Leading global brands including Samsung and Xiaomi have not issued global 100% renewable energy targets or substantially increased their renewable energy use. Samsung Electronics recently announced that it has achieved 100% renewable energy in the US, Europe and China, but it continues to rely on fossil fuels in South Korea and Vietnam, which account for more than 80% of the company’s electricity use. The tech sector brands itself as the industry of the future, but when it comes to climate action, tech giants like Samsung and Xiaomi remain trapped in the past,” said Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner Xueying Wu.
Greenpeace East Asia scored 30 major tech companies from China, Japan and South Korea on their climate commitments, emissions reductions, transparency and climate advocacy.
–Sony received the highest grade in the ranking due to the company’s global 100% renewable energy commitment and pledge to reduce emissions across the supply chain. However, less than 10% of Sony’s operations are powered by renewable energy, leaving much room for improvement.
– Samsung Electronics, Xiaomi, and Alibaba were among the lowest scoring companies. All three global brands have yet to issue worldwide 100% renewable energy pledges or emission reduction targets.
– Few of the ranked companies have followed through on their commitments with real action. Nearly half of ranked companies have issued net zero or carbon neutrality pledges. However, only two ranked companies, Rakuten and GDS, have achieved renewable energy usage rates of 20% or higher.
– Only 3 out of 30 ranked companies have included supply chain emissions in their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets: Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi.
The tech sector is one of the fastest growing sources of carbon emissions in East Asia. The combined electricity consumption of the 30 ranked companies totals approximately 200,000 GWh, exceeding the entire electricity consumption of Thailand. In 2019, Samsung Electronics alone consumed the equivalent of one fifth of South Korea’s total household electricity consumption.
“Global tech companies need to achieve 100% renewable energy across their supply chain by 2030. In China, Japan and South Korea, opportunities are available for corporations to buy renewable energy directly from the grid in the form of power purchase agreements, but companies need to make better use of these options. For many tech companies, the majority of electricity consumption comes from the supply chain, so it’s critical that tech giants include supply chain emissions in their targets,” said Wu.