As 2012 begins and the Consumer Electronics Show approaches, the merging of information technology and clean energy technology continues to advance in ways that could not have been seen twenty or thirty years ago. One company, Samsung, is working hard in promoting sustainable development with some of the products it offers, including it’s energy-efficient microwaves and solar-powered netbooks.
As the #1 television maker and the second-biggest mobile phone maker in the world, the company realizes the potential of melding both information technology and renewable energy.
Just before the holiday season, I had the opportunity to interview David Steel, Executive Vice President of Strategy from Samsung, on issues ranging from some of its sustainability initiatives to the important role corporations can play in improving our environment.
Energy Efficiency: Samsung has products geared towards two different markets: 1) developed nations and 2) developing nations. Samsung, with its energy-efficient microwave (Samsung SMH2117S), targets towards North American consumers, Steel said. The microwave uses an LED light that promotes energy efficiency, for example. Energy efficiency is one way Samsung is doing its best to promote sustainable development in North America, since there is a concern that far too much energy is used in North America, and energy efficiency is one big piece in achieving significant energy reduction.
Emerging Markets and Clean Technology: While energy efficiency gets more attention in developed countries, including those in North America, the rise of emerging markets has given some hope to poorer countries that want to climb up the economic ladder. However, as more emerging economies advance, more clean energy will be demanded. That will increase the need for products that can capitalize on this market.
Examples like the Samsung solar netbook showcase the potential of sustainability. It can help to bridge the digital divide that can help lift poor people out of poverty, while also addressing environmental concerns and raising awareness.
While there has been positive advancement on renewable energy issues, there is often criticism that corporations use investment in renewable energy to greenwash and cover up other environmentally damaging practices. However, Steel said that companies do have an advantage others don’t in promoting renewable energy — they can innovate and use the immense knowledge they have to advance and develop clean energy further than it would be otherwise.
Samsung, with these examples, shows one of the important roles companies can play with sustainable development and advancing it further than ever before.
A University of Winnipeg graduate who received a three year B.A. with a combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications. Currently attempting to be a freelance social media coordinator. My eventual goal is to be a clean tech policy analyst down the road while I sharpen my skills as a renewable energy writer. Currently working on a book on clean tech and how to relate it to a broader audience. You can follow me on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or at www.adammjohnston.wordpress.com