As the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, each year Samsung Electronics sells hundreds
of millions of new handsets all around the world. The company has a strong commitment to improving the sustainability of all its new products, and wanted to achieve independent recognition for its achievements in doing this. In 2004 Samsung Electronics introduced its "Eco-Design Process' requiring environmental assessment of all new products as part of its standard product development process, including working with eco-friendly certification and labelling schemes to assess the eco-friendliness of its product models before launching them to the market.
In order to demonstrate the continual progress being made in reducing lifecycle carbon emissions from smartphones, Samsung chose to work with the Carbon Trust because of its independence, technical expertise in product carbon footprinting, and the strong global reputation of its brand.
Samsung began working with the Carbon Trust in 2012, pledging to certify the carbon footprint of all models of its flagship Galaxy smartphone range. This was first done with the Galaxy S2 in 2012, and has included all Galaxy S and Galaxy Note handsets up to and including the recent S9.
The first step for Samsung’s sustainability team was to master the methodology for product carbon footprinting, which was initially done at a scoping workshop hosted by the Carbon Trust in London. The workshop introduced the team to meeting the requirements of PAS2050, an international footprinting standard which the Carbon Trust helped to author.
Samsung also invested in the Carbon Trust’s Footprint Expert™ software, a powerful tool to help calculate carbon footprints quickly and consistently. Footprint Expert™ draws from the Carbon Trust’s world-leading expertise to provide users with a footprint calculator that makes it easy to enter primary data, and is augmented with a large and reliable database of secondary data, which together significantly speed up the process of footprinting. Samsung is just one of over 200 organisations from 26 countries that use the software to generate accurate and easily certifiable footprints.
Taking a cradle-to-grave approach to carbon footprinting – which looks at everything from raw material inputs to eventual disposal – Samsung was able to accurately calculate the full extent of carbon emissions associated with its products. This holistic view has real commercial advantages since it identifies potential areas of inefficiency within the supply chain, allowing businesses to uncover opportunities to cut costs as well as carbon.
By working with the Carbon Trust, Samsung has been able to clearly demonstrate year-on-year the results of its focus on sustainability. Improvements have been made across the entire lifecycle of the smartphones, from in the processing of raw materials right through to the distribution of the finished product.
We are increasingly expanding the range of our mobile phones that are not only high performing and well designed, but also environmentally friendly and technologically advanced. Our goal is to solidify our reputation as an environmentally-friendly company thanks to the various green management initiatives we operate under the banner of Planet First.
Sang-Gyu Lee, Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics
The Carbon Trust’s certifications of Samsung Galaxy devices since 2012 have demonstrated that when technology innovation is done well, it can provide better products with lower environmental impacts. We would like to congratulate Samsung Electronics for continuing to find ways to improve the sustainability of its products and we look forward to supporting them on this journey.
Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust