All the tech companies (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.) boast about being super ecological and green. Some even call themselves sustainable and eco-minded. The reality is quite different.
Greenpeace has criticized several major tech companies in the electronic product supply chain for their dismal efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite claims from consumer electronics companies about significant progress.
In their 2023 Supplementary Change report, Greenpeace highlights that supply chain companies account for around 70% of the electronics industry emissions. They point out that a reduction in manufacturing emissions in this area would significantly contribute to an overall reduction.
No one approves, no one commits
At this rate, however, the campaign group predicts that the semiconductor industry will produce more than double the emissions of Portugal by 2030, while consuming as much electricity as the entire country of Australia.
None of the 11 suppliers analyzed by Greenpeace has committed to halving their carbon emissions by 2030, a key requirement of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal.
The number of companies using low-impact procurement methods, such as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), to increase their renewable electricity acquisition ratio was also observed. While this affects companies’ figures, Greenpeace states that RECs and eco-prices “rarely translate into the addition of new renewable energy capacity to the grid.”
Additionally, Intel, TSMC, Samsung Electronics, Foxconn, and Luxshare Precision produced more emissions in 2022 compared to 2020. Despite the increase, Greenpeace’s decision to choose figures from 2020 is notable because it was a year of global shutdown due to the pandemic, leading to a drastic reduction in production.
It’s also important to consider that increased demand (and production) poses challenges to a company’s ability to reduce emissions. With more digital and connected devices entering the market, it seems this will be the case in the future.
Overall, SK Hynix, LG Display, and Pegatron appear to be the top-ranked companies in the semiconductor, display manufacturing, and final assembly fields, respectively. Additionally, nine out of the eleven companies have been praised for their transparency.