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Samsung Electronics Sets New Carbon Targets in $5 Billion Sustainability Push

By Fabiana Negrin Ochoa and Justina Lee


Samsung Electronics Co. has launched a new environmental strategy, pledging to cut carbon emissions, use more renewable energy and invest $5.03 billion in sustainability initiatives, as booming demand for chips poses extra environmental challenges for manufacturers.

The South Korean electronics giant said in a press release Thursday that it aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its global operations by 2050. For the Device eXperience Division, which encompasses its consumer-electronics businesses, the timeline is set for 2030.

To hit those targets for direct and indirect emissions, known as Scope 1 and 2, Samsung will invest heavily in carbon-cutting technologies, for example by reducing process gases--a byproduct of chip-making--and installing treatment facilities on its manufacturing lines by 2030.

The use of gases with a heavy climate impact is a key sustainability issue for chip makers, along with the large amounts of water and electricity needed for manufacturing.

Samsung said that as it has expanded capacity to meet global demand, "the electric power needs of semiconductor manufacturing facilities have continued to increase," with daily water withdrawal needs at its South Korea sites tipped to double by 2030.

It aims to address those issues by maximizing water reuse, carrying out water-restoration projects and ramping up its use of renewable energy.

Samsung on Thursday also joined the RE100, an initiative that commits companies to using 100% renewable energy. It plans to match the power needs of its global operations with renewable sources by 2050.

The announcements were met with lukewarm response from some observers.

"Samsung signing up for declarations like this [the RE100] might be a step in the right direction but a vague 2050 target leaves shareholders with more questions than answers," said Kiran Aziz, head of responsible investments at KLP, Norway's largest pension fund.

KLP has a holding of $62 million in Samsung.

Crucially, the group's targets leave out Scope 3 emissions, she said, referring to those emitted indirectly via a company's value chain.

Greenpeace East Asia says the company's timeline is too slow, and its targets aren't ambitious enough.

"A 2050 target puts Samsung far behind many of its peers, including Apple, Sony, and Intel," Jude Lee, deputy executive director of the environmental group, said in a statement. Samsung's climate commitment is limited to its operations and didn't mention specific plans for supply-chain decarbonization, she added.

Apple Inc. aims to have net-zero supply chain and products by 2030, while Sony Corp. targets carbon neutrality, including Scope 3, by 2040.

In the release, Samsung said it "will set mid-to long-term reduction targets for value chain emissions [Scope 3]" and would "focus on new approaches to reduce emissions in areas such as supply chains."

Samsung didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.


Write to Fabiana Negrin Ochoa at


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September 15, 2022 06:05 ET (10:05 GMT)

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