Earlier this year Samsung introduced environmentally friendly 'upcycling' into their packaging for their lifestyle TVs (The Frame, The Serif and The Sero). The eco friendly cardboard boxes the TVs come in have clear dot matrix designs to help the customers cut the boxes to assemble them into other uses. The customers can find the instructions for turning their boxes into household items on a scannable QR code on the box. The boxes can be turned into cat houses, magazine racks and even shelves to hold DVDs and the remote.
Further than this, Samsung and British lifestyle magazine Dezeen held a global competition, awarding the most unique and practical designs, and incorporating the designs into their cardboard packaging. The winners, Sarah Willemart and Matthieu Muller, had designed a collection of Endangered Animals including polar bears, sea turtles and rhinoceros which could serve as stools, small tables and toys. These designs are now part of their up-cyclable cardboard packaging.
Whilst we love the innovative nature of this idea we have to point out that this packaging is only on a very small, fairly expensive selection of their products. The idea seems more disingenuous when you consider that The Frame and The Sero have energy ratings of B and The Serif has an energy rating of A, which are both in the bottom 60% of the European energy scale.
With pressure from Greenpeace and protestors, Samsung committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy in all their worksites in the United States, Europe, and China by 2020. In June 2020 they reported that they are on track to meet this target, in 2019 they had achieved 92% renewable energy on these worksites.
With the addition of measuring scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions it is clear that Samsung are thinking more about climate change now than ever before. However, previously their CO2 emissions have been rising year-on-year and all electronics have the associated problem of e-waste. Samsung are tackling this with their e-waste recycling initiative. In their ‘circular economy goals’, they aim to take-back 7.5 million tonnes of e-waste by 2030 (the accumulated amount since 2009). Previously, Samsung have lagged behind competitors Apple and Google in terms of their sustainability efforts, so it is great to see Samsung stepping up. However, it is also their responsibility to do this in order to offset the previous damage they have made to the planet. As consumers we need to stay vigilant to their initiatives (e.g. the greenwashing of their ‘upcycled’ packaging) and commitments. We must not let Samsung, and companies like them, lose their momentum in moving towards a greener future.