Sony’s Ambition for Net Zero

In 1947, a group of researchers known as the Chicago Atomic Scientists who had participated heavily in the Manhattan Project, began a mimeographed newsletter called the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.


A clock counting down to midnight was depicted on the cover as a metaphor, with midnight representing Doomsday from a human-made global catastrophe. With the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fresh in the memory, the most likely cause of the apocalypse at time of the newsletters first publication was all-out nuclear war.


In 2024 the biggest existential threat to humanity is the impending climate disaster, which, if things continue on their current trajectory, will become irreversible by 2027; earlier this year the Doomsday Clock lurched 90 seconds to midnight to represent this increasing threat.


Recently reporting regarding the climate has been dominated by the revelations about the carbon footprint of celebrities, most notably Kim Kardashian. Not only did the reality TV star produce 426 times more carbon than the average person last year (5,965 tonnes), but she also made headlines for flying on her private jet from LA to Paris to buy cheesecake.


With so much bad news surrounding the climate, it can be easy to become disheartened, especially when you see the sacrifices you make day-to-day rendered almost null and void by a reality star’s craving for Parisian cheesecake.

(It’s not the first time Kim Kardashian has flown to France for cheesecake, perhaps the parallels with Marie Antoinette are lost on her…)


Which is why we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on something altogether more encouraging – a multi-billion dollar company that is making a real and sustained commitment toward net zero – Sony.

The Surprising Carbon Cost of Electronics

It’s easy to forget when you’re playing The Last of Us on your PlayStation, watching football on your Bravia TV or logging in to your online horse bettingaccount on your Xperia that the company behind those devices has a sizeable carbon footprint.


Cobalt, an essential component for the lithium-ion battery in your phone comes from the ravished Congo with a heavy price of human suffering and carbon emissions.

Tungsten, an essential component in your TV is laboriously mined in China, Canada, Russia and Vietnam and likewise, your PlayStation is comprised of a myriad of precious materials from all across the globe.


That’s before you even mention the carbon emissions involved in transporting Sony’s goods around the world, in powering their factories and keeping the lights on in their offices. All in all, it adds up to a sizeable carbon footprint and helps to steer us ever closer to the midnight on the Doomsday Clock.


Doing Something About It

In 2010, when there was more opposition and apathy toward Net Zero thinking, Sony established Road to Zero, a plan to reduce their carbon emissions to Net Zero by the year 2050. To do that the company set itself 5 year environmental targets that were measurable and realistic.


Measures such as reducing the annual energy consumption per product unit by 5% year-on-year, have in large been a success. To the extent that Sony brought forward their targeted date from 2050 to 2040.

(Take a look at Sony’s official Road to Zero video.)


What makes Sony different than many other companies is the fact that they have been committed to this movement since before it was fashionable. There is no hint of greenwashing at play when you research the Japanese giants’ plans for Net Zero.


In addition to that, Sony’s decision to bring forward their targeted date shows not only progress but a real commitment to take an active role in reducing global emissions and averting a climate catastrophe.

So, how exactly has Sony gone about achieving their stated aims for reducing carbon emissions?

Here are a few of the most notable:


Conserving Resources: As briefly covered above, almost all of the electronic devices in your home were made by combining common and uncommon materials. Sony was one of the first companies to take recycling seriously and has put into place a number of programmes to ensure that as much of their resources as possible come from recycled components.


Controlling Chemical Substances: The cotton found in your clothes is responsible for some of the most egregious environmental damage on the planet. The chemicals used to preserve the crop as it is growing leave trails of death and destruction on flora and fauna. Sony, recognising the potential harm of chemicals, have established their own chemical substance standards to weed out chemicals that pose a risk to the environment.


Efficiency: Not only have Sony committed to increases in solar power year-on-year, but they have also begun tackling an issue that damages the environment – product life cycles. Planned obsolescence, two words which are synonymous with Apple, encourages fast technology practices which harm the climate.


Sony have committed to doing the opposite of planned obsolescence, by investing in technology to prolong the life cycle of their products.

Further Reading


Sony’s obligation to Net Zero and the measurable targets that they have put into place would take more than a couple of articles to cover in depth. If, after reading this, you’re interested in seeing in greater detail the climate friendly plans of a serious and committed company, you can read about Sony’s Road to Zero plan here