Data from Friday’s Greenpeace report showed that 12 of the top 14 suppliers get, on average, 5.4% of their energy from renewable or undisclosed sources. The organization said its major clients, including HP Inc. and Dell Technologies Inc. and Lenovo Group and Sony Group Corp. and LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. . Designed an emissions strategy that requires its suppliers to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Greenpeace researchers concluded that major consumer electronics brands “have not provided sufficient incentives or subsidies to their suppliers to decarbonise.” They “fail to set meaningful targets for renewable energy where that really matters – in their supply chains.”
Google, Sony and Dell declined to comment, while representatives from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo and LG did not respond to Bloomberg’s emailed requests for comment. Amazon said it plans to run its operations on 100% renewable energy by 2025 and to decarbonize by 2040. Samsung said it is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
At the heart of their supply chains are giant Asian chip manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and SK Hynix Inc. which can consume the same amount of energy as entire countries to produce advanced logic and memory chips that are now used in just about everything. While their products are indispensable, they use fossil fuels to generate much of their power. In 2021, TSMC and Hynix reported renewable energy use rates of only 9% and 4%, respectively.
Other suppliers include monitor manufacturers such as Japan Display Inc. and LG Display Co. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer. , and Pegatron Corp, which produces motherboards, wireless systems, and game consoles.
Greenpeace said 10 technology companies and 14 suppliers studied used more than 170,000 gigawatt-hours of energy last year, on par with Argentina’s annual electricity consumption. By 2030, the energy used by the global technology sector is expected to rise by 60% through 2020. This threatens to create severe supply problems and raise environmental concerns in manufacturing hubs.
Taiwan’s TSMC absorbs as much electricity as Sri Lanka’s 21 million people, and is expected to consume up to 12.5% of the island’s annual energy consumption by 2025. More than half of Taiwan’s energy is generated from coal and fossil fuels. In South Korea, home to another chip supplier, SK Hynix, the story is similar. The company’s chip factories consume the equivalent of 1.6 million South Korean homes, and more than 60% of the country’s energy comes from burning coal and natural gas.
Apple said in a statement on Tuesday that Apple is calling on its suppliers to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. The Cupertino, California-based company will “evaluate how our major manufacturing partners work to decarbonize their Apple-related operations — including operating on 100% renewable electricity — and will track annual progress,” the company said in the statement. TSMC is the only producer of Apple’s silicon processors that go into iPhone, iPad and Mac devices, while Hynix is a major memory provider for the devices themselves.