We’ve all heard the call to “reduce, reuse, recycle” so many times it has become almost tedious. But at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Samsung is taking a page from Apple’s book and putting a strong emphasis on this very concept. During its keynote speech, the company is dedicating a significant portion to highlighting its commitment to sustainability and resource circularity. Not only does Samsung prioritize the use of recycled materials in its products, but it also considers the environmental impact of its devices during the manufacturing process and their use.
“We start by incorporating recycled materials into some of our most loved products, such as recycled fishing nets in our Galaxy,” said Inhee Chung, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability at Samsung. “Smartphones, recycled plastic in our TVs, and recycled aluminum in our bespoke refrigerators. In 2022, recycled plastic accounted for 14% of the total plastic used in our products, and we are striving to increase this amount.”
In addition to using recycled materials, Samsung has also implemented innovative features like SmartThings AI Energy Mode to help consumers manage energy usage at home through connected intelligence. According to Samsung’s data, the number of SmartThings energy users worldwide has increased by over 75% in 2023, showcasing the impact of these efforts.
But Samsung’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t end there. They have also announced a collaboration with Tesla to integrate SmartThings energy with their Powerwall solar inverter and Wall Connector EV charging solutions. This partnership will enable SmartThings energy to utilize Tesla Powerwall Storm Watch to alert users before severe weather events and help prepare for potential power outages through energy-saving automation.
One of the most intriguing sustainability initiatives showcased at the press conference is Samsung’s dedication to promoting reuse and recycling beyond end-of-life use. Through programs like 35 Renewed and Galaxy Upcycling, Samsung offers refurbished phones and encourages users to repurpose old devices. Additionally, the company has partnered with the D-Lab at MIT to develop innovative ways to upcycle Samsung devices, particularly in low-income communities in Africa where the effects of e-waste are most heavily felt.
This press conference has given some hope that Samsung’s commitment to a low-carbon circular economy is more than just lip service. From the design of their products to their end-of-life, Samsung is proving that tech companies can prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility. Not only is the company showcasing innovation in its product line, but it is also taking significant steps towards a greener and more sustainable future.
However, it’s fair to question if there is more Samsung could be doing. While the announced metrics and milestones are certainly significant, there is always room for improvement. But it’s important to recognize the real effort and cost that goes into these initiatives, rather than chalking it up to mere “greenwashing” – a common practice among corporations. Let’s hope Samsung continues to make meaningful strides towards sustainability and inspires others to do the same.
More of that, please.