OPINION: Samsung has just unveiled a glittering range of new smartphones, but the product announcement showed that the brand has an even more important issue in mind.
Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S22 range has just wowed the world of tech, showing yet more annual improvements and seemingly pushing the envelope for Android smartphones once again.
But if you can, just for a minute, tear your eyes away from the stunning screens and the cornucopia of cameras, then you might be just as impressed by the leaps that Samsung is making in its environmental assurances.
It’s hardly a secret that the world of technology regrettably creates huge amounts of wastage and environmental damage each year; it’s the flipside behind the launch of all those shiny, new top-of-the-line products that we love to obsess over. Even if we often put it to the back of our minds and would rather think of other things, we can never forget about it entirely
However, at the Unpacked event that was held to announce the release of the Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Tab S8 range, Samsung made the bold step to put sustainability front and centre of its product launch — before we even got to see those much-awaited gadgets.
The manufacturer had several new initiatives to deliver on the subject. The biggest was to recycle discarded plastic fishing nets that would otherwise be ocean-bound and therefore a threat to marine life. This recycled material, along with other post-consumer recycled materials, will be used in various components of the new flagship phone line, but it’s not just the handsets themselves that will get a sustainability boost; the significantly slimmed-down packaging is made of 100% recycled paper, with the protective film also being made of recycled plastic.
Official cases are all “designed with UL-certified, eco-conscious materials – such as recycled post-consumer plastics or bio-based substances.” As a company, Samsung now uses 100% renewable energy in the US, Europe, and China.
Given that the United Nations has formed a partnership with Samsung to pursue its sustainable development goals, and that the manufacturer has committed to longer product lifestyles more generally (as evidenced by longer-term software support), it seems like these changes are here for good rather than as a passing fad.
It goes without saying that more could be done; but it’s reassuring to see a major manufacturer address these issues head-on and make some progress, as opposed to ignoring it in the hope we’ll completely forget about the environmental cost of new technology. By stepping up and setting an example, we can only hope that other companies will follow Samsung’s lead not just in cutting-edge technology but also in cutting-edge environmental activism.