As part of our #EarthDayAtTech360, we checked out various technology and technology-enabled companies to highlight some incredible efforts that they have taken to show their commitment to sustainability and to protecting the environment. Earth Day started in 1970 and every year since, the world comes together to demonstrate support for environmental awareness and protection on April 22.

For the last entry in our Earth Day coverage series, we speak to a Samsung spokesperson on the company’s plans for sustainability, upcycling and more.

Q: Samsung has been pushing for sustainability lately, with the new eco-packaging for televisions as well as the Solar Cell TV remote. What other sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives are in the works?

Samsung’s efforts in sustainability are embedded deep in our business, from corporate- to product-level.

Samsung TV Remote Solar Cell
Credit: Samsung

We are building environmental sustainability into everything we do. From product design and packaging to consumption and recycling, the entire lifecycle of a Samsung product is a story of sustainability and environmental consciousness. This includes using power-efficient chipsets, post-consumer recycled materials and green packaging materials, as well as upcycling used devices – our green stewardship is a full circle.

Samsung is not only breaking ground with innovative technologies that reshape consumers’ experiences, but we are also providing tangible solutions in helping to conserve energy, reduce waste and lower carbon emissions.

One of the key developments we have made at the corporate level is elevating the Sustainability Management Council – an enterprise-wide consultative body focused on the company’s sustainable management strategy. This was established to ensure that sustainability efforts are part of Samsung’s overall business management decision-making process. This has trickled down to even the earliest product design moments, where our teams of developers use an evaluation system called the Eco-Design Process to assess the environmental sustainability of a possible product.

Q: Are there plans to expand the recycling and take-back program into Singapore?

We are working closely with the local authorities to support better management of e-waste in Singapore.

We also have the Samsung Trade Up programmes for consumers to trade in their old mobile devices and TVs. Through these programmes, Samsung is actively playing a role in better management of e-waste in Singapore.

Q: What plans are there to reduce Samsung’s carbon footprint, and are there any timeline or target goals set?

As a company that ships out nearly half a billion devices globally every year, it is important to us that we can produce sustainable and energy-efficient products without compromising product performance while delivering a positive impact on the environment and people who use the devices.

We strive to create social and environmental values as well as economic values through our sustainability management so as to contribute to the betterment of the global society. These measurements, based on the ‘True Value’ method developed by KPMG include quantifiable environmental indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric and aquatic environmental impact, and the impact of waste on the environment. This helps us have a better sense of the true value we create.

We have reduced energy consumption by 42% on average in 2019 as compared to 2008, and at an organisational level, we have set a goal of increasing the cumulative use of recycled plastic to 500,000 tons by 2030.

Q: Samsung focuses a lot on upcycling instead of recycling, why is it so? Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to build something new than to repurpose?

At Samsung, we believe that upcycling is the new recycling, where we breathe new life into products. We are focused on finding new uses for our products, and we have various projects to give our users new ways to use our products.

Samsung Eco Package
Credit: Samsung

We also recognise that the packaging we use can be improved with the environment in mind, and thus we created eco-packaging boxes for our TV range that can be repurposed into reusable household items such as TV and book stands, thus creating a circular economy through the entire product lifecycle, from the R&D stage to the product up/recycling stage.