Earth-Friendly Living, Brought to You by Tech

by 
Katie Reilly

The tech industry is making headway on climate change and member companies of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) are leading the way. Whether it’s individual companies pledging to meet environmental milestones or industry groups establishing independently audited energy efficiency agreements, the technology industry is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and innovating a more earth-friendly path forward.

Today’s sustainability progress reflects the industry’s climate change commitment going back years. In 2017, CTA’s Board of Industry Leaders resolved to measure the industry’s GHG emissions and issue an annual report to track CTA member company progress. The Industry Report on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions examines three “scopes” of emissions:

• Scope 1: direct emissions from company owned or controlled sources like vehicles or facilities,

• Scope 2: indirect emissions from energy generation, and

• Scope 3: value chain emissions.

CTA just released the third annual report, which captures 2019 data submitted to the independent non-profit CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) by last year – including from manufacturers and retailers to service providers. The findings show significant year-over-year strides made in Scope 1 and 2 emissions, specifically a 3.3% reduction in U.S. emissions. Compared to baseline data from 2016, the emissions reduction here is an impressive 24%. Looking at the industry’s global emissions impact, CTA members decreased Scope 1 and 2 worldwide emissions in 2019 by 6.7%, even while the industry experienced 3.5% economic growth.

Scope 3 – value chain emissions – is the broadest and most complex category. The year-over-year comparison of worldwide Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions shows a 2.6% increase from 2018 to 2019, due to factors like increased reporting of subcategories in Scope 3, mergers and acquisitions, increases in outputs and other variables. While Scope 3 emissions are an area to focus future emissions reduction efforts, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. CTA member companies will continue to make progress through annual measurement, reporting and goal setting.

The report notes that 47 CTA members have received A/A- rankings from CDP, which are bestowed upon companies receiving top marks in the comprehensiveness of their data and establishing meaningful and stretch goals. Additionally, 42 CTA member companies now have emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), an organization working towards the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global temperature increases below two degrees Celsius.

CTA also reported earlier this year that billions of dollars in energy costs have been saved thanks to voluntary energy efficiency agreements between the tech industry and environmental activists. The industry is putting in the work and progress is being made.

While tackling environmental threats, the tech sector continues to innovate, finding new ways to keep us more connected, entertained and productive than ever before. Earth-friendly living is made possible by the technologies behind remote work, telehealth, electric vehicles, machine learning, artificial intelligence and more. Tech as part of the sustainability solution will be a resounding theme at CES 2022, January 5-7, in Las Vegas. Keynotes, exhibits and conference sessions will showcase and explore the latest tech innovations that are serving people and the planet. Visit CES.tech for more about how tech is fighting climate change through innovation.