Samsung to source 100% renewable energy in Europe, US and China

Consumer technology giant Samsung Electronics has announced that it will source all the energy it uses for its factories, office buildings and operational facilities in Europe, the US and China from renewable sources by 2020, making it the first electronics manufacturing company in Asia to commit to 100% green energy.

Renewable energy currently fulfils just 1% of the Korean company’s global power consumption, but the switch will see Samsung’s renewables use increase to the equivalent of that generated by an average 3.1GW solar power plant by the end of the decade, equivalent to powering 115,000 family homes for a year.

“Samsung Electronics is fulfilling its duty as a corporate citizen by expanding and supporting the use of renewable energy,” the firm’s executive vice president Won Kyong Kim said.

“As demonstrated by our expanded commitment, we are focused on protecting our planet and are doing our part as a global environmental steward.” 

Outside of these three markets, Samsung backed the South Korean government’s pledge to use 20% renewable energy by 2030, pledging to install 42,000sq m of solar panels at its Suwon headquarters by the end of 2018 and a further 1,000sq m of solar arrays and geothermal power generation systems across two of its Korean campuses by 2020.

The firm has also joined the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles and the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Centre in keeping with the commitments.

Samsung has additionally confirmed that it will begin working with CDP next year, on a supply chain programme consisting of its top 100 suppliers in a bid to drive renewables uptake beyond its front-line operations.  

The move was welcomed by Greenpeace and the WWF alike, with Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan dubbing it “a major step forward for the movement to build a renewably-powered future”. 

“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,” she added. 

Powering ahead

The business world made good progress towards driving the renewables revolution in recent months, with more than 100 corporates now signed up to the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, creating around 146TWh in demand for renewable electricity annually – similar to the electricity consumption of Poland.

And the move from Samsung comes as a report from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that corporates have actively sourced renewable energy equivalent to the overall demand of France.

In the tech sector specifically, Apple announced in March that it had achieved its goal of powering all its global operations with renewable electricity, and had convinced 23 of its key suppliers to make pledges to follow suit in making the switch.

Elsewhere, Vodafone committed this month increase its current 13% renewables share to 100% by 2020, while the City of London Corporation has similarly pledged to expand its onsite arrays to switch to green power.

Sarah George

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