Alex is a professional freelance writer and blogger who evaluates the impacts of technology.
A Review of Samsung’s Sustainable Practices
Over the years, Samsung has been at the forefront of incorporating sustainable practices in its operations. For instance, in 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded Samsung Electronics America Inc. two awards for its continued sustainability. This made Samsung the first brand to be awarded and honored with the SMM (Sustainable Materials Management) Champions award in its product category for the Galaxy S6.
The award was primarily due to Samsung’s use of sustainable materials in producing the Galaxy S6 flagship phone. The phone was 99% recyclable together with its peripherals such as its charger and earphones.
Besides the application of sustainable materials in the making of Samsung phones, Samsung has also been recognized for its Galaxy Upcycling program. This program allows Samsung Galaxy phone users to retrofit the software and hardware of used and antiquated Galaxy phones into new tech products such as IoT devices, gaming consoles, and closed-circuit TVs. Consumers are able to interact with new technology with the same antiquated phones through minor hardware and software changes hence enabling the new functionalities. Through this program, Samsung was also awarded a cutting-edge champion award and has remained an exclusive honoree of the award since 2017.
Samsung has also committed itself to a long-term commitment of proper recycling of e-waste, mostly in the United States. For example, in 2016, the company’s recycling program collected over 118 million pounds of e-waste in the US alone. This was one of the world’s biggest e-waste collections, and the company has been recognized in this category for four years in a row. Besides, Samsung’s unique upcycling program has been commended by (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to be an environmental ingenuity at its finest. The administrator encouraged other technology companies to follow Samsung’s lead due to their excellent innovative and sustainable efforts.
Lastly, Samsung has incorporated a sustainable supply chain which consists of 2,500 suppliers globally. The company provides support to its suppliers, hence ensuring they take part in green management. The company also conducts an environmental management assessment when selecting new suppliers so as to ensure they are willing to comply and engage in eco-friendly production.
Evaluating Organizational Effectiveness Using Sustainable Benchmarks and Practices
Samsung’s effectiveness in sustainable practices can be measured through various performance benchmarks and indicators.
Samsung employs a quality management system that ensures all its products meet and satisfy all the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 certifications. The company ensures that all its employees abide and understand the company’s quality assurance policy, hence ensuring the products are safe and deliver customer satisfaction.
Social and Cultural Aspects
Samsung is a firm believer in improving conditions around the world, particularly through social contribution programs. For example, Samsung provides financial assistance to children from low-income families, builds schools for children with no access to education facilities, employs and trains people from local communities hence empowering them, and lastly, Samsung builds communal facilities for local communities. Besides, Samsung has also partnered with the youth by establishing programs such as “Eco-Generation” which promotes environmental preservation awareness. This has rekindled global youth interest in engineering hence being able to make the society more sustainable in fields such as renewable energy, water treatment technologies, and petrochemical energy.
The Environmental Aspect
According to Samsung’s philosophy for the 21st century, the company laid the foundations for eco-management in the year 1992 in the Samsung Environmental Declaration. Since then, the company has always adhered to various environmental laws and regulations. Through the eco-management objective, Samsung has been able to reduce greenhouse gases through making eco-friendly products that have little to no environmental impact. Two, it reuses its waste products and waste material in the production of its products. Lastly, it educates local communities about the importance of ecological conservation and preservation.
How Key Trends in Sustainability Could Impact Strategy Development
The battle for sustainability has been a mainstream concern due to changes in climatic events, growing levels of automation, increased volatility, and public pressure for transparency. These changes are opening ways for various organizations and companies to step up the challenge of sustainability leadership. As Samsung is undergoing a significant strategic reorganization as part of a strategic environmental plan, different key trends in sustainability have impacted strategy development for the organization. They include:
The Shifting Global Recycling Mindset
This trend has positively impacted Samsung’s strategy development thus making Samsung among the best sustainable companies. Samsung’s conservative principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle have improved product design by employing a structure of circular resource management. Besides, Samsung is a huge collector of e-waste, and since 2009, the company has accumulated about 10,000 tons of e-waste. The company is also in the process of developing e-waste take-back programs in each country. In addition, the company is also pursuing a closed-loop recycling system for waste resources.
Partnerships and Open Collaboration
Open collaborations involving various stakeholders have proved successful in reducing environmental footprint. Partnerships and collaborations have positively impacted Samsung’s strategic development since the company has ensured sustainable programs as well as remained competitive in the market. Besides, Samsung’s partnerships with its suppliers have promoted sustainable supply chains hence ensuring every material supplied by the suppliers is eco-friendly and of high quality. Samsung has also been able to launch social impact programs such as the building of schools, social amenities as well as financial support for unprivileged children.
Innovation in Eco-Friendly Materials
This trend has impacted Samsung positively since Samsung began developing its flagship Galaxy S6 phones as well as other of its products. Through recycling its products, Samsung has been able to reuse the materials hence helping reduce e-waste in the environment. In this, Samsung received the SSM champion awards since the company demonstrated its efforts in reducing negative environmental impact. This effort has allowed Samsung to develop innovative products such as its flagship OLED and QLED televisions that are eco-friendly as well as of high quality.
Influence of the Global and Internal Environments on the Need for Strategic Reorganization.
Various global and internal environments have prompted the need for strategic reorganization in Samsung.
Beginning with the global environment, we have:
The Political Environment
New laws and regulations on sustainability have pushed Samsung to incorporate sustainable practices as one of the most important drivers for the company. Therefore, the strategic reorganization is crucial for ensuring Samsung pushes forward the sustainability trend thus ensuring the company remains competitive as well as it remains eco-friendly.
The Social-Cultural Environment
People’s behavior, culture, and attitudes influence the performance of any organization in one way or another (Castaño, Méndez, & Galindo, 2015). Samsung understands this very well and therefore; the company is at the forefront of developing various projects that involve the community. Besides, Samsung has redefined its marketing since it understands that people are now environmentally conscious and therefore, Samsung is keen to demonstrate its role in sustainability as a brand.
The Technological Environment
Due to the wave of sustainability, innovation through eco-friendly materials has become a trend across tech companies (Castaño, Méndez, & Galindo, 2015). Therefore, strategic reorganization in Samsung was crucial in order to ensure it progresses in a sustainable and innovative way. Besides, the company has come up with cutting-edge product designs that are eco-friendly. These products have gained competitive positions in the market hence bringing more profits to the company.
Different factors in the internal environment prompted the change. They include:
- Human resources. Samsung is always on the look for competent and skillful employees who will take the company to the next level. In addition, Samsung has designed systems to ensure that employees follow quality standards in their operations. The employees are also educated on the need for sustainability, and therefore, it becomes easier for them to come up with high-quality and sustainable products.
- Processes. As Samsung is introducing new solutions and projects as a response to sustainability, the need for change in its strategy was crucial so as to ensure long-term solutions that provide long-term benefits to the company, society, and the environment.
List of references
Business Wire. (2016). Samsung Wins Sustainability Awards from EPA. Retrieved from https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160211006351/en/Samsung-Wins-SustainabilityAwards-EPA
Castaño, M. S., Méndez, M. T., & Galindo, M. Á. (2015). The effect of social, cultural, and economic factors on entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Research, 68(7), 1496-1500.
Samsung About us. (2019). Eco-management | Our Commitment | Environment | Sustainability. Retrieved from https://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/sustainability/environment/our-commitment/eco-management/
Samsung Engineering. (2019). Corporate Social Responsibility. Retrieved from http://www.samsungengineering.com/sustainability/corporate/project/suView
Samsung Engineering. (2019). Quality Management. Retrieved from http://www.samsungengineering.com/sustainability/quality/common/suView
Samsung Newsroom. (2018). Samsung Recognized for Sustainability Initiatives by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-recognized-for-sustainability-initiatives-bythe-u-s-environmental-protection-agency
Samsung Newsroom. (2019). Applying Samsung’s Innovative Spirit to Eco-Friendly Product Design. Retrieved from https://news.samsung.com/global/applying-samsungs-innovativespirit-to-eco-friendly-product-design
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Alex Mutuku