South Korean electronics giant Samsung has been banging its sustainability drum loudly over the past couple of years, with impacts that echo around its ecosystem. With slogans like “corporate citizenship” and a big push for environmentally friendly supply chains, materials and manufacturing, the company has been pushing for a greener world than before. As part of its Galaxy for the Planet program, and following on the heels of its upcycling programs, its abandonment of plastic packaging and a slew of other programs, the company’s latest stunt is repurposing discarded fishing nets to help do its part.
The company is announcing new Galaxy devices on Wednesday, but was eager to give us a sneaky glimpse at how these new materials will find a place in its product lineup. The company highlights that it is increasing how ef-fish-ent it is at eliminating single-use plastics, and further puffer up the use of more eco-conscious materials. That includes recycled materials (specifically, post-consumer recycled materials), and recycled paper.
To ensure a reel positive impact, the company is setting its sights on the 640,000 tons of fishing nets that are discarded every year. The company is pledging to collect and repurpose at least some of these nets in an effort to clean up the oceans a little. In the process, the watery landscapes will become a little more pleasant for marine life that would otherwise often find itself entangled in the discarded nets.
In its 2021 report, Samsung points out that it has done a lot of good so far; dropping its use of plastics by 20% by redesigning certain types of packaging, adding power-saving features to its products, collecting almost 5 million tons of e-waste and ensuring 95% of waste from manufacturing is recycled. The company also runs 100% on renewable energy in the U.S., Europe and China. The company has also been working toward certifications (such as the Carbon Trust Standard reduction of CO2, water and reliance on non-recyclable materials.
The company points out that it is committed to addressing plastic pollution in the oceans in ways that will positively impact the environment and “the lives of all Galaxy users.” Presumably, if you have a non-Galaxy phone, your life can stay very much the same as it was, thank-you-very-much.
Joking aside — and as someone who’s spent more than a few days in scuba gear in an attempt to clean up nets and other debris off reefs — I think it’s a positive move from the electronics giant. It remains to be seen whether this will have a measurable impact on the environment. Samsung didn’t specify how many of the 640,000 annual tons of fishing nets they are aiming to remove from the water, but it’s encouraging that the conversation is continuing and that the measures continue. Hopefully Samsung and the other leading manufacturers can continue to out-green each other to continue to play their part in not burning the planet to a crisp before we find more sweeping, comprehensive climate solutions along the way.
I’ll raise to the bait: A for a fin-tastic effort, there, Samsung, at keeping your friends close, and our anemones closer. Now if we could also encourage people to update their phones every three years instead of every 18 months, we’d have some real traction on our hands.