Dear Vice-Chairman Lee Jae-yong, Happy 4th Samsung Greenwashing Day

Samsung’s Sustainability Efforts and Promises: The Galaxy is Costing the Earth

Four years ago, in June 2018, Samsung Electronics, one of the tech giants, grabbed headlines by announcing that it would go 100% renewable energy. Indeed, its facilities in the U.S., Europe and China have achieved the goal as promised, but these countries account for only 20% of the Galaxy makers’ total electricity consumption. In contrast, Samsung’s efforts to expand renewable energy in its operations and supply chains in South Korea and Vietnam, which account for the remaining 80%, have been almost non-existent. 

Carbon Emissions of Samsung and Dreaming about becoming Carbon Neutral

Due to this lack of action, Samsung Electronics’ greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase. In 2020 alone, Samsung Electronics emitted 29,532 tonnes of carbon dioxide — a figure that puts the total greenhouse gas emissions of Samsung on par with the entire country of Norway. That isn’t good for the environment and the world.

Samsung – The Top Power Consuming Company

Within South Korea, Samsung continues to be the top power-consuming company on the fossil fuel-heavy state energy grid. Samsung, more than the other brands, undoubtedly has the resources to break away from this reliance on fossil energy and reportedly wants to be able to purchase power from independent renewable energy generators, bypassing state energy companies that have been reluctant to transition away from coal. Still, Samsung has yet to announce a short-term or long-term plan on how and when it will actually do this

Samsung’s Eco-friendly Products – Just Greenwashing

In diverting attention away from its inaction over the past four years, Samsung developed the catchphrase “Galaxy for the Planet.” This is nothing but greenwashing as they are still costing the Earth. 

Technology, Technology, Technology

This June 14th, we celebrated 4th Samsung Greenwashing Day, just like Earth day. Judging from the recent remarks by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jae-yong Lee after his 12-day trip to Europe, we might have to celebrate Samsung’s 5th anniversary next year. 

He underscored the importance of keeping up with cutting-edge technology, saying that the first, the second and the third priorities are all technology. After an 8-hour discussion at an ’emergency meeting’ of Samsung Electronics’ presidents held the very next day upon his arrival to Seoul, they concluded that they would  “secure global technology leadership and pioneer the future market.” 

Technology is understandably important to Samsung, but it remains unclear if by “technology leadership”, Samsung also means using technology that will make the transition to using 100% renewable energy globally possible. As a global company, Samsung must become a global climate leader. As it stands, Samsung has already fallen behind its peers, such as Google, Apple and TSMC, as well as Korean conglomerates, including SK, LG, and Hyundai, when it comes to decarbonisation.

2023 Should Mark the First Anniversary of a True Renewable Energy Transition

The largest net profit company in Asia. The world’s No. 1 company in the market share of major electronic products such as DRAM, OLED and smartphones. 

Is greenwashing what consumers expect from such a company? Can we really say that Samsung Electronics is fulfilling its responsibility for a sustainable future for humanity?

Last year, we showcased the Samsung Squid Game in Glasgow, England, while COP26 was in full swing, and this year we are celebrating the 4th anniversary of Samsung Electronics’ Greenwash Day. 

There have been reports that Samsung Electronics will make a groundbreaking declaration on the transition to renewable energy, but we, consumers and investors, are still waiting. Four years has been long enough; Samsung needs to live up to its promises and truly implement a plan to use 100% renewable energy globally — including in South Korea and Vietnam. If inaction continues, Samsung will become a global company known for turning a blind eye to the climate crisis rather than a global technology leader. 

Vice-Chairman Lee Jae-yong, we are waiting for you and Samsung Electronics to take real action.