For the first time in Samsung’s history, overseas employees will outnumber domestic employees. With over 100,000 overseas employees today, Samsung is expected to surpass their domestic employee base in Korea, if it hasn’t already. So with the majority of Samsung employees being non-Korean, will it continue its march to be greener globally?
2011 has been a good year for Samsung’s progress in Sustainability:
- In February, Samsung was among the highest rated cellphone manufacturers cited by Good Guide, a company that rates products for their environmental, health, and social impact.
- In early June, the Samsung Replenish smartphone became the first to receive the Platinum rating under a new UL Environment green certification. At the end its product lifecycle, 82% of the Replenish components can be recycled. It is also free of the common toxic chemicals and plastics found in virtually all smartphones.
- In late June, Samsung was awarded the Golden Peacock Award in India for eco-innovation for its Notebook Series 9. Recyclable materials are in 80% of the product and its packaging.
Despite the 2011 momentum, Samsung has room to grow. In Newsweek’s 2010 Global 100 rankings of the Greenest companies, Samsung ranked 54th among the Top 100 and only 13th within the Technology industry. Although Samsung Electronics Vision 2020 launched last year with laudable goals in Corporate Social Responsibility, there is more Samsung can do as an EcoLeader to expand its global Sustainability:
– Increase Global Recycling at a faster rate: Despite North America having the biggest consumer electronics market in the world, it has the lowest amount of recycled Samsung electronics of any other region. Samsung could offer incentives to recycle and build brand loyalty. As an example, less than 10% of mobile phones are recycled (IDC) worldwide.
– Dramatically increase the amount of recycled plastics used within Samsung products. With a goal of reaching 25% recycled plastic content by 2025, Samsung’s last published rate was 9%. Given innovative products that have as much as 80% content today, Samsung can easily transfer that expertise across all product lines. For every one ton of plastic that is recycled: the earth saves the equivalent of 2 people’s energy use for one year, the amount of water used by 1 person in two months and almost 2000 pounds of oil.
– Use circuitry in all products that would eliminate vampire (phantom) energy use. Use chargers that cutoff the vampire current after a product is fully charged. For all other consumer electronics products, utilize the same circuitry found in smart power strips to cutoff vampire energy if a product is turned off. These simple changes could save US consumers nearly 10% per year on their electricity bills.
– Use consumer input to improve Sustainability. By making Sustainability a dialogue with consumers through contests or an onsite forum that rewards the best ideas, Samsung could expand their eco-innovation in ways that consumers want.
As overseas employment diversifies Samsung’s workforce and global scope, Samsung can raise their Planet First™ bar in a way that would benefit Sustainability’s three P’s: people, profit and planet.
What other Sustainability enhancements would you like Samsung to implement for a Greener Planet? Your comments are welcome.
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Copyright 2011 by Ed Valdez. All rights reserved.