S Korean tech giants under pressure to go renewable

5 November, 2018 12:00 AM printer

SEOUL: South Korean tech firms are under increasing pressure from global companies, environmental activists, local governments and politics to expand the use of renewable energy, reflecting growing calls to protect the environment and fight climate change.

Last week, Korean chipmaker SK hynix announced it would obtain its power 100 percent from renewable resources for its overseas plants by 2022 and reduce greenhouse gas emission by 40 percent in its business sites in Korea, report agencies.

SK hynix became the second electronics firm in Asia to make such an announcement, following Samsung Electronics.

“The decision made by SK hynix seemed to follow the green move of Samsung Electronics, which serves as kind of a pacesetter among Korean tech firms. More manufacturing firms like LG and Hyundai Motor will be pressured to follow the green move,” said Lee Jong-oh, director of local civic group Korea Sustainability Investing Forum.

In June, Samsung Electronics announced its green initiatives of using renewable 3.1-gigawatt solar energy by 2020 in the way of expanding renewable energy in its plants in Korea and sourcing renewable energy for 100 percent of the energy used for all of its overseas plants.

Samsung said the drive was in line with the Korean government’s new energy policy to go renewable and fulfill its role as a global corporate citizen.

The tech giant has been under continued pressure from international environmental activist Greenpeace to expand the use of renewable energy. Last year, Samsung Electronics received a D-minus from Greenpeace in its scores of global tech firms’ eco-friendliness. Its rival Apple got a B-minus, both Dell and HP received C-pluses and Microsoft had a C-minus.

The activist group has also carried out diverse campaigns calling for the Korean tech firm to pay more attention to the environment in front of its headquarters in Korea.

Greenpeace has a history of pushing Korean firms to go renewable. In 2015, the nation’s largest search giant Naver announced the use of 100 percent renewable energy for its data center after the activist published its research outcome on local firms’ use of renewable sources for their data centers.