Earth Day 2021: Making Smarter Technology More Sustainable

Mary Jacques, Director, Global Environmental Affairs & Sustainability and Senior Engineer Staff Member at Lenovo
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Each year, April 22 marks a world-wide commemoration that has become increasingly important to global citizens: Earth Day. At this time last year, at our Morrisville, North Carolina operational center, we were all working remotely and canceling international travel amidst lockdowns. While 2020 was difficult, the halt in human activity also caused greenhouse gas emissions to plummet by 7% – the largest drop ever recorded. This glimpse of a greener planet showed us how impactful and interconnected our actions are. One year later, we must double down on our efforts to ensure a lasting, positive impact for future generations as we look to the future.

At Lenovo, we are always looking for opportunities to use smarter technology to drive meaningful environmental improvements, inside and outside of our business.

Global Changes. Global Impact.

Our dedication to strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance is embedded in our company’s ethos. From our packaging and products to our global manufacturing footprint, this commitment is integrated in all that we do. As a global company, we know that significant change requires a dedicated approach, catalyzed by a unified purpose to provide smarter technology for all.

Last September, we announced our most ambitious global environmental goals to date. After meeting and surpassing our FY 2019/2020 goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we joined the Science Based Targets initiative and established new, aggressive targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Our new targets include cutting scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions* in half in order to contribute to the United Nation’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Our measured, collaborative efforts allow us to remain focused on how we can do our part to ensure a healthier world for years to come.

We approach environmental initiatives systemically across our business units, our operations, and our supply chain. Because of Lenovo’s unique combination of product development and manufacturing expertise, we are able to make a larger global impact. Our efforts have already yielded strong results, including:

  • Using almost 13 million pounds net of post-consumer recycled content across a wide range of product lines;
  • Driving the use of closed loop recycled content plastic sourced specifically from used IT and electronics equipment in 66 different products in 2019, and continuing to identify new opportunities for innovation to leverage more recycled material in our products without compromising quality;
  • Avoiding the use of over 3,100 tons of packaging consumption by designing smaller packaging, driving designs that eliminate the need for plastic tape, and using compostable sugarcane and bamboo. As a result, we reduced packaging consumption by 560 tons in fiscal year 2019/2020 alone.

As a company with more than 63,000 employees around the world, our dedication goes beyond the supply chain and how we manufacture products. As of 2020, we have completed solar panel installations at Lenovo facilities in Morrisville and Whitsett, NC, USA and in Hefei and Wuhan, China. The increased use of solar power within these major Lenovo buildings will continue to expand and help us to reduce our carbon footprint on a global scale. Additionally, Lenovo’s March 2021 endorsement of the United Nations’ CEO Water Mandate, which mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals, reinforces our commitment to advancing water stewardship and decreasing water stress by 2050.

A Sustainable Future for All

Our work toward our environmental and other ESG commitments will continue to play a key role in who we are and how we operate as a global company. While we are proud of the progress we have made, there is still much to do to mitigate the impact of climate change, and we cannot do this alone.

As we celebrate Earth Day, we encourage everyone to take time to think about how you can help make a positive change for the environment. Even the smallest actions – unplugging items not being used, recycling old devices, or powering down a computer at the end of the day – matter. Together, we can create long-lasting, meaningful change and build a healthier planet for all.

*Scope 1 emissions are from operations that Lenovo operates or controls; Scope 2 are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat or cooling consumed by Lenovo.

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