Samsung and Amazon named among biggest carbon polluters in big tech
Samsung has the largest carbon footprint of any major tech company emitting 20.1 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, according to a recent analysis that studied the carbon emissions coming from the big tech firms.
The research, analysed by Electronics Hub, also found that online retailer Amazon emits the most of the “Big Five” tech companies, with 16.2 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions produced each year.
Per employee, Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC emits the most, with 209.4 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions produced for every member of staff.
US-based semiconductor firm onsemi produces the most carbon relative to their earnings, with 405.5 metric tonnes of CO₂e produced for every $1m in revenue.
The study used publicly available ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) and CSR (Corporate Social responsibility) reports, looking at the total direct and indirect carbon emission figures for 100 of the largest technology companies, ranking them from highest to lowest polluting within the industry.
As one of the largest electronics firms, Samsung took top place, which Electronics Hub believes to be because of the complex supply chains that indirectly make firms like the Korean manufacturer responsible for millions of tonnes of carbon pollution.
Sony, Dell, HP, Panasonic, and Microsoft (with nearly five million metric tonnes, solely) also proved to be responsible of hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes, likely due to the same supply chain issues, the report claims.
Samsung has pledged to spend more than $5 billion in order to reach net-zero by 2050.
In second place, Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 18% in 2021 because of increased consumer spending during the Covid-19 lockdowns. The retail giant told TechInformed in response to the report that it “is committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040 and is on a path to powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.”
While TSMC takes first place for carbon emissions emitted per employee, it is not the only semiconductor company guilty of emitting a large amount of carbon.
According to the report, the process of creating semiconductors is energy intensive and requires a melting process of raw silicon, which takes place in furnaces that heat up to over 1000°C.
It’s also proving a bit of a challenge for semiconductor firms to balance itself out as demand for products using semiconductor chips has surged, especially during the global shortage.
With the UK set to cut emissions by over 80 tonnes, big tech players such as Amazon and Samsung will need to turn their attention to minimising their carbon output.
TechInformed has reached out to Samsung and TSMC for comment.
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