LG Electronics, purveyor of OLED TVs, in-ear headphones, and countless other gadgets, is committing to an ambitious 100% renewable energy target by 2050 – firing a shot across the bow of other TV brands such as Samsung.
The company will be first powering "every office and manufacturing site" in the US with renewable energy, and gradually making the same transition in other regions around the globe within the next three decades.
There's a big push for solar panels in its India manufacturing sites, and we're told that "manufacturing facilities outside of Korea are on target to convert 50 percent of their electricity needs to renewable energy in the next four years."
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In the age of consumerism, and the age of climate emergency, it's falling to manufacturers to figure out how they can keep making and selling their wares sustainably.
LG Electronics is one of the largest manufacturers in the world, and its pledge to shift exclusively to renewables is certainly notable – alongside its commitment to reaching carbon neutrality (when the amount of carbon it releases into the atmosphere is a net zero) by 2030.
2030 is a key year, being when the EU's Paris Climate Agreement targets a 40% drop in greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 1990 levels).
Whether LG hits these targets is another matter, as companies falling behind on their green commitments is nothing new, but it shows an ongoing push across the consumer tech market to both improve sustainable practices and to be seen doing so.
What about the rest?
Of course, LG is only one company, and even if it reaches these targets, only collective action across the technology sector is going to make a meaningful difference – whether that's Vodafone switching to renewable energy across Europe or Microsoft improving the green credentials of its software teams.
In June of this year, Samsung came under fire from Greenpeace for "lagging" behind on its renewable commitments, having excluded the nations that are responsible for 80% of Samsung's global electricity consumption.
News outlet France 24 reported that "Renewables only accounted for 17.6 percent of the firm's global energy mix in 2020, Greenpeace said, highlighting that its two key production hubs – South Korea and Vietnam – were not included in the original commitment."
Samsung has been investing in the renewable energy sector to offset this, with its Samsung Heavy arm recently announcing an offshore windfarm, though these ventures still pale in comparison to the company's global impact. In 2020, Samsung's greenhouse gas emissions actually rose compared to the previous year.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.