This week, at an event in San Jose, California, Samsung announced its latest flagship smartphones: the Galaxy S24 S24Plus and S24Ultra. For the first time since I have been following the company, the keynote focused more on software and experiences than it did pure hardware. The new smartphone family marks the start of a new AI era powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy and a deeper collaboration with Google as Samsung is the first Google Cloud partner to bring Gemini Pro on Vertex AI to customers.
While AI capture most of the attention at the launch, Samsung did not miss the opportunity to talk about its sustainability strategy.
In an age where technological advancements are continually shaping our lives, it's essential for tech companies to consider the environmental impact of their actions. Samsung firmly believes that they are all responsible for preserving the environment for future generations. This belief drives the company to create Galaxy innovations that not only enhance people's lives but also contribute positively to the planet.
Samsung’s commitment to sustainability is not just a slogan; it's a pledge to make a real difference and this requires an ongoing assessment of products, supply chain and goals. Samsung is accelerating its efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for the Galaxy S24 series by 2030. This commitment extends across the entire lifecycle of its products, from design and production to efficient usage and responsible recycling.
Recycled Materials: Redefining Innovation
One of the ways Samsung is reducing its environmental footprint is by introducing recycled materials into its devices. In 2022, Samsung took a significant step by incorporating recycled discarded fishing nets into the Galaxy S22 series. This initiative marked the beginning of a new era for Samsung, as it expanded the use of recycled materials across its Galaxy devices, including recycled aluminum, glass, and various types of recycled plastics with particular attention to single use plastic.
The Galaxy S24 series represents the next phase of Samsung’s environmental journey, as the company embraces circular design principles. The Galaxy S24 is the first Galaxy flagship to feature components made with recycled cobalt and rare earth elements. The brand sourced the recycled cobalt from lithium-ion batteries discarded by its partners during the manufacturing process and from batteries that reached the end of their lifecycle. In the Galaxy S24 Ultra and S24 Plus, a minimum of 50% recycled cobalt is used in the battery. Moreover, Samsung incorporated 100% recycled rare earth elements in the speakers, sourced from magnets discarded during manufacturing or from products at their end of life. This move not only showcases the commitment to ethical and responsible sourcing but also addresses the ethical and environmental concerns associated with mining these minerals.
Partnerships for Progress
Sustainability efforts cannot be achieved in isolation, especially in tech. That's why it is very encouraging to see Samsung partnering with like-minded organizations to optimize the quality of discarded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and incorporate it into device components. In the Galaxy S24 series, a minimum of 10% pre-consumer recycled TPU was used in the side key and the volume key. Additionally, a minimum of 40% recycled steel was incorporated in the speakers.
Samsung’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond the product itself; it extends to packaging. The Galaxy S24 series comes in a box made from 100% recycled paper material, a step closer to eliminating single-use plastics from device packaging.
Built to Last
As I pointed out on social media during the event, longevity is a critical aspect of sustainability. The Galaxy S24 series is designed to last even longer than the previous generation. It comes with seven years of security updates and seven generations of OS upgrades. Every stage of design and development considers its environmental impact.
Furthermore, the Galaxy S24 series is UL EcoLogo Global certified, and its carbon footprint has been measured and verified by the Carbon Trust.
Ambitious Goals for the Future
In 2021, Samsung announced a set of ambitious goals to be accomplished by the end of 2025, including developing and incorporating recycled materials in all new mobile products, eliminating single-use plastics for mobile packaging, reducing standby power consumption to zero, and achieving zero waste to landfill across our global manufacturing operations.
By the end of 2022, Samsung already achieved the goal of incorporating at least one recycled material in all new mobile products, spanning Galaxy smartphones, tablets, PCs, and wearables. Building on this progress, Samsung is setting a more ambitious goal for 2030. By that time, the technology giant aims to incorporate recycled materials into every module of every mobile product, marking a significant step towards a more sustainable future.
Technology for Good
Samsung’s effort to be an agent of positive change does not stop with running a more sustainable business. There are global challenges the company wants to help address in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to leverage the Galaxy platform for a better world. Through initiatives like the Samsung Global Goals app and Generation 17, Samsung aims to empower individuals, especially young leaders, to take meaningful actions towards achieving the UN's global goals.
Samsung's commitment to sustainability is not just a corporate strategy; it's a moral obligation to safeguard our planet for generations to come. The Galaxy S24 series is not just a collection of smartphones; it's a symbol of responsible innovation and a reminder that technology can be a powerful force for good. Samsung's journey continues, underlining the need to take meaningful actions towards a more sustainable future.