5 tech companies walking the talk on sustainability

Sustainability: Acer laptop, Nokia phone, Xbox controller
Adapted image using photo by Appolinary Kalashnikova on Unsplash
100% human

Sustainability is a significant part of any company’s business strategy in 2023. More than just an empty buzzword, more and more consumers want to support businesses that care as much about people and the planet as they do about making good products.

Mind you, some do it better than others. This is why, following Earth Day, we want to highlight five tech companies making genuine strides towards sustainability. These brands do more than merely buy some carbon credits and call it a day. They display leadership worthy of commendation for implementing eco-friendly production standards, becoming more energy efficient, and actively considering the environmental impact of their actions.

Each company has a different approach, too. Some are using more recycled materials in their products, while others have found ways to drastically reduce power consumption. Every bit counts when investing in sustainability initiatives so people can enjoy the planet for generations to come.

Belkin pushing the recycled barrier

Like many companies at CES 2023, Belkin committed to increased sustainability efforts. What makes the Californian tech accessory company stand out in our eyes is how far it’s pushing expectations of what can be done in a short space of time. Belkin recently launched refreshed models of popular devices made from upwards of 72% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics. More devices from the brand will also feature a high percentage of PCR materials throughout the year.

When interviewed about the changes, Belkin CEO Steve Malony stressed the importance of aiming high with the company’s sustainability targets. A 50% PCR blend was quickly abandoned in favour of a loftier ambition. Many other companies are also using PCR materials in various devices, but usually in lower proportions.

Belkin also invests heavily in recycling programs, having saved more than 36,000 tons of electronics and packaging from going to waste. As part of its carbon reduction portfolio, the company invests in wind farm renewable energy as well, targeting full carbon neutrality by 2030.

HMD Global (Nokia) making phones last longer

HMD Global is the company responsible for the swathe of Nokia phones currently on the market. Like Belkin, HMD Global is going further than most with sustainably-designed devices. Take the Nokia X30 5G, for example. Launched last year, the handset uses a 100% recycled aluminium frame and a 65% recycled plastic back casing, which is just about unheard of for a phone.

Another recent development from HMD Global we hope catches on is easily repairable phones. Earlier this year, it launched the Nokia G22 in collaboration with the global repair community iFixit. The result is a phone that you can repair yourself with the use of affordable tools, plus it also features a 100% recycled plastic back casing. Making repairs more affordable and approachable helps keep phones active for longer and reduces unnecessary e-waste. Great work all around.

Microsoft & Epic Games optimise playtime

For the purposes of this article, we’ll hone in on Microsoft’s sustainability efforts with its Xbox gaming brand, which has seen a rather unique initiative take place in recent months.

Across Xbox Series X and S consoles, Microsoft rolled out a “carbon aware” update designed to decrease the carbon footprint of running a games console. The idea is that the consoles will prioritise automatic updates and software downloads during times when renewable energy is more likely to be the predominant power sourced by the grid.

Following the announcement, Microsoft copped a fair whack from CNET’s Jackson Ryan over double standards, given that some of the company’s promotional campaigns were at odds with its environmental stance. Fortunately, the Xbox software updates have made a significant impact.

At the 2023 Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft and Fortnite developer Epic Games revealed that shared efforts to reduce energy use saved roughly 80 MWh of energy per day. Both companies demonstrated that by optimising games to run at lower resolutions and frame rates where possible, you can reduce excess power consumption. Fingers crossed more game companies follow in their footsteps.

Microsoft also recently launched the Remix Special Edition Xbox controller, a gamepad made from recycled CDs, water bottles, and old controller parts. A third of the controller is made from recycled materials, yielding a more sustainable end product.

Acer brings sustainability to laptops

For the past couple of years, Acer has ramped up the percentage of recycled materials it uses across its devices. Last year, it went big with the Vero laptop and peripherals, which has continued into this year. Only days before Earth Day, the company announced the latest Aspire Vero 15 laptop, with a chassis comprising 40% PCR plastics in addition to recycled materials used across the device’s adapter and keycaps.

Again, plenty of companies use PRC materials, which is great, but those that go further than the rest really impress us.

This only scratches the surface of what the biggest tech companies do for sustainability. It’s great to see continued innovations in how devices are made and tech becoming better for the environment.

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