Samsung Renewable Energy and the Squid Game Protest at COP26
Photo Credit: Climate Media Hub
10 November 2021 – by Eileen Lui
Last updated on 08 February 2023
Activists at COP26 in costumes from the popular Netflix series Squid Game today demanded Samsung switch to renewable energy 100%, arguing that climate change cannot be addressed without a fast transition toward clean energy, like solar power and wind energy.
With the Squid Game-inspired protest near the main venue at COP26, South Korean and global environmental and consumer groups launched a campaign titled “Samsung, Go 100% Renewables,” claiming that the global semiconductor manufacturer has failed to show sufficient progress in renewable energy use, reducing emissions, and other renewable energy targets, despite claiming to be an eco-friendly leader in sustainability and smart technology.
Samsung Electronics Still Powering Fossil Fuels — where is Samsung Renewable Energy?
In 2018, the company pledged that by 2020 all operations in the US, China and Europe would be 100% renewables-powered. Yet, as shown by a recent study, Samsung failed in it’s own renewable energy targets and did not commit to this for worksites in South Korea and Vietnam where power generation depends heavily on fossil fuels and account, at the time of the pledge, for over 80% of Samsung Electronics’ total electricity use.
“Samsung Electronics emits an enormous amount of greenhouse gases. If Samsung responds to climate change in such a passive manner as it does now, then we won’t be able to address this major crisis, and everyone will lose. Samsung Electronics should go 100% renewable energy, especially when there is an abundance of wind and solar power, actively reducing its harmful emissions.”Kwon Woo-hyun, Activists, Friends of the Earth Korea
Voices from the Ground in Glasgow — “Samsung can’t lose the renewables game.”
In the protest in Glasgow, activists from Friends of the Earth Korea, Solutions for Our Climate, Youth4ClimateAction, Consumers’ for Climate and Action Speaks Louder created a scene where Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong in a green tracksuit played the dalgona challenge. As in the Netflix series, he had to pick out the shape of a wind turbine from the dalgona biscuit while surrounded by guards in pink jumpsuits holding banners reading “Samsung can’t lose the renewables game.”
The organisations leading the campaign criticised the role of Vice Chairman Lee, who was released on parole in August. Although Vice Chairman Lee was pardoned to contribute to the national economy, Samsung Electronics has not taken responsible measures on climate since his release.
“Samsung Electronics publicizes how it has logged record semiconductor sales but has stayed silent on its role as one of the largest industrial greenhouse gas emitters in South Korea,” said Kim Joo-jin from Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC). “At the centre of many social controversies, Vice Chairman Lee is being closely watched on how he manages Samsung Electronics’ climate efforts, which have so far been highly insufficient. Until Samsung Electronics says goodbye to fossil fuels and achieves 100% renewable energy across global operations, which will require it to raise its voice to Korea’s largest utility, KEPCO, we cannot say it is ‘acting now for a low-carbon, sustainable future.’”
“How could we address climate change without holding those causing it responsible?” said activist Kim Seokyung from Youth4ClimateAction.“As Samsung has been a major contributor to the climate crisis, they should transition toward renewable energy in the right manner. If they claim to be a green leader without any plan on how to reduce emissions, it’s just greenwashing.”