Rank a Brand

How sustainable is Samsung ?

Samsung & sustainability


Samsung
First milestones, should be better Click here for score rapport: 7 out of 39

Sustainability summary

Samsung has achieved the D-label. The brand has started to take sustainability into account, such as reducing climate emissions, using recycled plastic, working with initiatives to reduce the use of conflict minerals and having a code of conduct in place to improve the worst labor conditions. Still, a lot more can be done for Samsung to prove that the company follows fair labour and environmentally sound practices.

Brand owner: Samsung Group
Head office: Seoul, South Korea
Sector: Electronics
Categories : Smartphone, Laptop, notebook, Tablet
Free Tags: Phone, Computer, Monitor, HiFi & Audio, TV & Home cinema, Camera, Headphone

What's your sustainability news about Samsung?

Samsung sustainability score report

Last edited: 17 May 2016 by Emily
Last reviewed: 17 May 2016 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

2 out of 6
1. Is there a policy for the brand (company) to minimize, reduce or compensate carbon emissions? Samsung implements several measures to reduce climate emissions, such as energy efficiency management programs and sustainable product innovations (see link, starting at page 105). Source
2. Has the brand (company) disclosed the annual absolute carbon footprint of its 'own operations' (Scope 1 & 2) and has the brand already reduced or compensated 10% of these emissions in the last 5 years? Samsung increased its climate footprint (Scope 1&2) of own operations from 8.018 million tons of CO2e in 2013 to 9.290 million tons of CO2e in 2014. This represents an increase of around 15,8% (see link, page 132). Source
3. Has the brand (company) set a target to reduce its absolute ‘own operations’ carbon emissions by at least 20% within the next 5 years? Samsung plans to reduce its relative CO2e emissions from 2.72 million tons/KRW 100M - Sales in 2014, to 1.55 million tons/KRW 100M - Sales by 2020. However, no clear target reduction for its total climate footprint is specified (see link, page 128). Source
4. Does the brand (company) publish the annual carbon footprint that also covers the major suppliers, and does the brand have an effective policy in place to reduce these carbon emissions? For 2014, Samsung communicates 3.512 millions tons of CO2e for 23% of its purchase volume in 2014. Samsung has been monitoring climate emissions at its suppliers’ worksites since 2009, but does not yet specify reporting on measures to effectively decrease those emissions (see link, page 132). Source
5. Is at least 35% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? In 2014 Samsung's total share of renewable energy use for its electricity was 578117 MWh (total energy use for electricity: 13314738 MWh). But, only 11537 MWh of renewable energy used can be clearly considered as newly generated (on-site photo-voltaic generation system) (see link, download "Climate Change 2015"). Source
6. Do all new products of the brand meet energy efficiency requirements such as Energy Star (where applicable)? Samsung implements measures to develop high-efficiency energy technologies. But, it is not clear about whether all new consumer products meet energy efficiency requirements such as Energy Star (see link, page 113-128). Source

Questions about Environmental Policy

2 out of 19
1. Has the brand (company) eliminated PVC in all new products? Since 2010, Samsung voluntarily controls non-regulated chemicals such as PVC, BFRs, and Phthalate. But, it is not specified, whether these chemical groups can be considered as eliminated in all new products (see link, page 111 & 121). Source
2. Has the brand (company) eliminated BFR's in all new products? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
3. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least 2 of the 3 groups of suspect chemicals (beryllium, antimony and phthalates) in all its new products already? Samsung aimed to phase out beryllium, antimony and phthalates by 2013. But, whether these target were accomplished isn't specified. Source
4. Has the brand (company) banned the use of benzene and n-hexane in the final assembly of products? Samsung communicated in 2012, that it does not use benzene in its fabrication processes. But, more up to date, as well as specification for n-hexane, is not yet specified. Source
5. Has the brand (company) banned the use of benzene and n-hexane in the full production chains? See remark for environmental policy question 4. Source
6. Does the brand (company) publish its annual material footprint, or alternatively material footprints for each sold product, and does the brand have an effective policy in place to reduce the overall environmental impact of material use? Samsung implements several measures to improve its annual material footprint, but does not publish its annual material footprint, or alternatively material footprints for each sold product (see link, page 120-138). Source
7. Does the brand offer the charger as optional to the product? Samsung does not mention anything about offering the charger as optional to the products. Source
8. Does the brand (company) source at least 10% of its plastics from recycled plastic streams and does the give a timeline to increase this percentage to at least 25% by 2025 ? In 2014, Samsung increased the amount of total recycled plastic in its products to 3.56%. Samsung has not set a target to increase this percentage to at least 25% by 2025 (see link, page 122). Source
9. Does the brand (company) source at least 20% of its plastics from recycled plastic streams? See remark for environmental policy question 8. Source
10. Does the brand have clear objectives to minimize the environmental impact of packaging, by reducing, re-using and recycling, and does the brand annually report on these results? Samsung implements several measures related to more sustainable packaging, but does not publish the annual packaging volumes/weights per material type (see link, page 120-128). Source
11. Has the brand (company) a take back program and is the take back recyling rate higher than 5% of the weight of the annually products sold? For 2014, Samsung communicates a global take-back & recycling quantity of 294,568 tons. However, a recycling rate higher than 5% of the weight of the annually products sold is not specified (see link, page 124). Source
12. Is the take back recyling rate higher than 10% of the weight of the annually products sold? See remark for environmental policy question 11. Source
13. Has the brand (company) an active policy in place to increase the product life-span of products, such as longer warranty periods or easy repair with easy ordering of spare parts? Samsung states that extending the lifespan of products is important for sustainability. For that, it implements a policy on reasonable product warranty and service parts availability, which takes into consideration the product, the sales region and legal requirements. But, no clear best practice examples are presented yet. Source
14. Does the brand (company) use replaceable batteries in all portable devices? Some of Samsung's products contain replaceable batteries, but it's not clear if all of them do. Source
15. Does the brand (company) provide online repair manuals for all products? Online repair manuals for Samsung products are provided via iFixit. Source
16. Does the brand (company) guarantee supply of spare parts and software updates for all products, for at least 3 years after end of production? Samsung does not mention anything concrete about the availability of spare parts and software downloads after end of production. Source
17. Does the brand (company) give at least a 3 years warranty on all products? With having a general warranty period of 1 ~ 2 year, it seems most of Samsungs products don't reach a 3 year warranty. Source
18. Does the brand (company) publish a water and/or land use footprint and is there a policy to minimize, reduce or compensate this footprint? Samsung implements several measures related to its own operations water footprint, such as recycling. For 2014, Samsung reports a total global operations water withdrawal of 74,684 million tonnes. Compared to 2013, that is an increase of around 8,7% (see link, page 135 & 137). Source
19. Does the brand (company) publish a water and/or land use footprint that also covers its most important suppliers? A water and/or land use footprint that also covers Samsung's most important suppliers is not published yet (see link, page 135). Source

Questions about Labour Conditions/ Fair Trade

3 out of 14
1. Does the brand (company) regularly publish an updated list of smelters that are identified in the own supply chain? Samsung does not publish a list of smelters. Source
2. Does the brand (company) have a clear policy to only source from smelters that have passed the conflict-free audits, and has the brand already achieved this for at least one metal/mineral? Samsung implements its conflict mineral policy, and reports, that 99% of its tantalum originates from conflict-free areas, effective by April 2015. But, Samsung does not yet clearly specify, whether at least one metal/mineral can be considered as entirely conflict-free (see link, page 72 & 73). Source
3. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 1 initiative that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Samsung is a member of the 'Conflict-Free Smelter Program' (CFSP) (see link, page 72 & 73). Source
4. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 2 initiatives that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Samsung has also joined the 'IDH Bangka Tin Working Group' (see link, page 73). Source
5. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 3 initiatives that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? Samsung does not mention membership at any other endorsed initiatives. Source
6. Is the brand (company) significantly involved in at least 4 initiatives that addresses the urgent appeal to improve the social and environmental conditions of mining metals and minerals; for example tin from endangered tropical islands Bangka and Belitung, conflict minerals from Congo, etc? See remark for labor conditions policy question 5. Source
7. Does the brand (company) have a Code of Conduct (CoC) for both its own factories and those of its suppliers, which includes the following standards: No forced or slave labor, no child labor, no discrimination of any kind and a safe and hygienic workplace? Samsung is a member of the EICC and has based its 'Supplier Code of Conduct' (CoC) on the EICC CoC. In this CoC all these standards are covered (see link, page 4-9). Also in its own operations CoC all these standards are covered (see link, next question, page 142 & 143). Source
8. Does the brand’s (company’s) CoC include at least 3 of the following workers rights: 1. a formally registered employment relationship 2. a maximum working week of 48 hours with voluntary paid overtime of 12 hours maximum 3. a sufficient living wage 4. form and join labor unions and bargain collectively; and in those situations where these rights are restricted under law, to develop parallel means? In the 'Supplier CoC': 1. Not mentioned; 2. No, maximum working week is 60 hours, 'except in emergency cases and unusual situations', which can mean anything; 3. No mentioning of living wage, 4. No, Freedom of association is mentioned, but it is unclear if this right is restricted by law. The standards in its own operations CoC are even weaker (formulated). Source
9. Does the brand (company) have a published list of direct suppliers that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume? Samsung does not provide a list of direct suppliers. Source
10. Is the brand (company) a member of a multi stakeholder initiative (MSI), wherein independent NGO’s or labor unions are represented, that collectively aims to improve labor conditions and that carries out independent audits? Or does the brand (company) significantly purchase its supplies from factories certified by such MSI’s? Samsung is a member of EICC, but civil society organizations do not have a decisive voice in this initiative. Source
11. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy? Are more than 95% of final manufacturing stage production facilities monitored for labour conditions? Samsung reports on the audits held in 2014, and gives a list of core violations, such as wage and benefits, but does not specify which share of the total production volume is actually monitored (see link, page 48-58). Source
12. Are at least 25% of final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries compliant to the Code of Conduct? Samsung does not specify, which share of its total production volume is compliant to its Supplier CoC and / or CoC of own operations (see link, page 48-58). Source
13. Are at least 50% of final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries compliant to the Code of Conduct? See remark for labor conditions policy question 12. Source
14. Are at least 50% of final manufacturing stage production facilities in high risk countries compliant to the Code of Conduct - including a living wage? See remark for labor conditions policy question 12. Source