Samsung’s philosophy of everyday durability is embodied in the new Galaxy S23.

Today, Samsung launched its latest flagship smartphone family and, with it, its new effort to make sustainability part of its technological innovation. I sat down with Win Jun Choi, EVP, Head of Research and Development Office of Samsung Mobile Experience and Mark Newton, Director, Corporate Sustainability, Samsung Electronics America to discuss the company’s broader sustainability priorities, challenges, and challenges. Got a chance. And hopefully what can be achieved.

Two years ago, Samsung Mobile set its sustainability goals to reach net zero by 2030, and since then, it has been leading the way with its mission of what it calls a “Galaxy for the Planet” vision. Recently reorganized under the Samsung Mobile Experience (DX) division, the team aims to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2027 using energy-efficient technologies and zero standby power in smartphone chargers. To improve energy efficiency in products by 30% by 2030 by achieving consumption of By 2025. Also, by 2025, Samsung DX aims to achieve zero waste in its global operations by minimizing waste generated in global operations and reusing and recycling to prolong the life cycle of its products. .

“Some people think that if you prioritize durability, you can lose performance and vice versa. At Samsung, we think very differently. We don’t believe that either is a problem to solve. “Instead, we want to create devices so that people don’t have to choose or sacrifice the things they love to be more environmentally conscious,” says Choi.

One of the challenges in using recycled materials is to do so without compromising the strength of a device. With the Galaxy S23, Samsung has increased the format as well as the variety of recycled materials used compared to its predecessor. In the Galaxy S23, Samsung is continuing to use post-consumer recycled ocean plastics and adding pre-consumer recycled aluminum and recycled glass. These additions allowed the use of recycled materials to expand from internal components to only external materials, bringing the total number of components using recycled materials to 12 – double that of the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy S23’s screen uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which contains 22% pre-consumer recycled glass and maintains the same durability as previous iterations. On the back of the device, Samsung used a PET film that uses 80% recycled PET. The box that comes with the Galaxy S23 models has been completely redesigned and is made from paper that is certified to be 100% recycled and sustainably sourced.

Increasing the use of recycled materials in appliances is about more than just sustainability. When it comes to metals, for example, it’s a question of having enough material to meet the demand for all the devices that are made. “If we’re not smart about literally mining scrap, we’re going to run out of the material that we need to make all the batteries and everything else. So we’re not going to worry about that problem. “Thinking more broadly in terms of not just where we can get materials from, but also when we’re retrieving our materials where they can help serve other sectors,” explains Newton.

In addition to the production and packaging phase, Samsung is implementing measures to make its smartphones more durable throughout the lifecycle, from increased durability to longer lifespans through software and security updates.

Last year, in the U.S., Samsung, in conjunction with iFixit, launched a well-received self-repair program aimed at helping consumers with three of the biggest problems they commonly encounter with a device. Faces: Screen, back glass and charging. The port supports the Galaxy S20, S21, and S22 and will now include the S23. Consumers who want to do their own repairs can purchase genuine device parts and easy-to-repair tools directly from iFixit, Samsung 837, and other Samsung retail and service locations. Once the repair is done, customers can return their discarded parts for responsible recycling using the prepaid label that comes with the repair kit.

Upcycling is also an important tool that Samsung uses to bring new life to obsolete devices. In 2021, it launched the Samsung Galaxy Upcycling at Home initiative in the US, UK and Korea. Through SmarThings Labs, a feature within SmartThings apps, users can reuse built-in sensors to provide enhanced sound and light control features. For example, using AI, these redesigned Galaxy devices can detect sounds like a baby crying, a dog barking, or a cat meowing or knocking and send alerts to the user’s phone. . In 2022, Samsung took it a step further and used upcycling to make a social impact on an issue that affects 1.1 billion people, 90% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. : Loss of vision. Samsung partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) to convert old and unused Galaxy devices into medical diagnostic cameras called EYELIKE™ fundus cameras. , which allow both medical and non-medical professionals to screen. People for conditions that can lead to blindness.

Newton argues, and I agree, that sustainability and overall company values ​​are something that young consumers are very interested in. This means that for Samsung, these initiatives are, as is often the case, not only a good thing for the environment and society. ; They can also have a positive impact on the bottom line of his business.

While much of the focus at Unpacked was on the new Galaxy S23 line, Samsung also introduced three new laptops, the Galaxy Book3 Pro, Book3 Pro 360, and Book3 Ultra, all made from recycled ocean-bound plastic and post-consumer materials. Add content.

“We’re just getting started on our sustainability journey. As an engineer, there’s nothing better than finding solutions that solve difficult problems. Knowing that a small change in one of our products can make a difference. Investments can have a significant impact on the environment because of our scale, which is very exciting,’ Choi concluded.

As we look to the next generation of computing and Samsung celebrates its partnership with Qualcomm and Google in building the next immersive computing platform, it’s reassuring to know that sustainability is part of this innovation journey. will be an important component on which the company will start.

Disclosure: Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis and consulting services with a number of technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author holds no equity position with any of the companies mentioned in this column.

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