Greenpeace urges Samsung to switch to renewables in two key markets

July 01, 2021 | 13:34
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Canada-backed independent, campaigning organisation Greenpeace is urging Samsung to use 100 per cent renewable energy in South Korea and Vietnam – Samsung’s two biggest production bases – to meet its net-zero commitment and climate goals.

Samsung, as the world’s biggest smartphone maker, is reported to use fossil fuels for 82 per cent of its power needs in contrast with the increasing trend of environmentally-friendly renewable energy.

In 2018, Samsung Electronics promised to source all of its energy use in the United States, China, and Europe from renewables within two years. However, in fact, renewables only accounted for 17.6 per cent of the firm's global energy mix as of last year.

Greenpeace cautioned that Samsung’s two key production hubs (South Korea and Vietnam) were not included in the original commitment and 2020 targets, partly because of supply and infrastructure constraints.

Specifically, South Korea and Vietnam make up for approximately 80 per cent of Samsung Electronics' worldwide electricity consumption and in both of them it "depended heavily on fossil fuels", Greenpeace said, based on disclosures and statistics from Samsung itself.

With more companies rushing to announce climate goals, such as net-zero emissions by 2040, environmentalists are keen to ensure they follow through on their pledges.

"Promising is not an actual plan but a mere signal," Greenpeace East Asia programme director Hyunsook Lee told Nikkei Asia. “Samsung should also include South Korea and Vietnam to its 100 per cent renewables campaign.”

Greenpeace's goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity.

In May, Samsung Electronics Vietnam – the smartphone manufacturer which accounts for half of the smartphones shipped globally by the corporation – has sought for approval from the Vietnamese government to begin buying renewable energy directly from producers. Samsung is also Vietnam’s largest exporter.

If approved, Samsung would be authorised to enter into direct power purchase agreements (DPPAs) to buy electricity from companies other than the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

In 2020, environmentalists has strongly urged Samsung C&T, part of the broader Samsung Group conglomerate, to divest from Vietnam's Vung Ang 2 coal-fired power plant.

By Luu Huong

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional