After months of global protests and campaigning, global electronics manufacturing giant Samsung has announced this week that it intends to transition by 2020 to source 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources across all its sites in the United States, Europe, and China.
Samsung announced the news on Thursday that it was expanding its use of renewable energy in all its operations in the US, Europe, and China, the first electronics manufacturing company in Asia to make the move. The move comes after months of campaigning and global protests calling on Samsung to set a renewable energy goal for its operations and its supply chain. Samsung has 17 of its 38 global manufacturing facilities, offices, and buildings in these three regions, which is a big step forward but also leaves a lot of room for further improvement. In addition to setting its 100% renewable energy target, Samsung also committed to seek to further increase its use of renewable energy around the world in the medium- to long-term, and announced that it was joining the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles and the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.
“Samsung Electronics is fulfilling its duty as a corporate citizen by expanding and supporting the use of renewable energy,” said Won Kyong Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Public Affairs, Samsung Electronics. “As demonstrated by our expanded commitment, we are focused on protecting our planet and are doing our part as a global environmental steward.”
Based in Korea, Samsung Electronics further announced its full support for the local government’s national target of sourcing 20% of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, and announced its own commitments to that end. Specifically, Samsung will install approximately 42,000 square meters of solar panels in Samsung Digital City, its headquarters in Suwon, and another 21,000 square meters of solar arrays and geothermal power generation facilities beginning in 2019 at its Pyeongtaek campus, and 2020 at its Hwaseong campus. According to Samsung, this would increase the company’s use of renewable energy globally to match the equivalent amount of energy generated by an average of 3.1 gigawatts (GW) worth of solar by 2020.
Samsung has also committed to engaging with its partners across its supply chain, and starting in 2019 will begin working with its top 100 partner companies to help them set their own renewable energy targets, in partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Program, which the company intends to join next year.
The news of Samsung’s commitment to its own renewable energy target as well as its commitment to work with its supply chain partners was warmly welcomed by those who have been campaigning to get the company to make just such a move.
“Samsung’s announcement is a major step forward for the movement to build a renewably powered future,“ said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International. “If the company follows through with meaningful actions, it will join the ranks of innovative business leaders recognising the sense of urgency around climate change and showing a different future is still possible.”