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Collaborating for a more sustainable future

17th September 2021 John Cerretani, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, Lenovo 4 min read

I’ve witnessed many corporations respond to the unprecedented challenges of the past year and a half with an unwavering focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. Yet, the release of the IPCC’s Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis report in August shows that we need to be doing so much more to mitigate climate change and champion sustainability as a collective business community.

The disruptive toll on our planet is nearing a point of no return and there has never been greater urgency to address climate change. As some companies commit to bold goals while methodologies are created, others are trying to establish a baseline of where to start. No matter where you are in your ESG journey, there are a few principles that should be considered for integrating ESG into business operations.

Start with vision and lead with actions

Having a clear and compelling vision helps define a company’s role in society and guides how it operates, supports issues and engages with all stakeholders. Vision must be backed up by meaningful actions and tangible goals to work toward. For Lenovo, our vision to provide smarter technology for all is engrained into all aspects of our business and drives our overall ESG efforts. By centering our company around our vision and aligning our commitments to it, we are always reminded to continue our work toward building a brighter, more sustainable future for our customers, colleagues, communities and the planet.   

Put accountability at the forefront

Developing ESG goals and initiatives that focus on supporting a resilient way forward can simultaneously create long-term value for stakeholders. An effective way to achieve progress is through a collective dedication to holding ourselves - and each other - accountable. At Lenovo, we’ve increased our internal accountability by forming the ESG Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) to provide strategic direction and facilitate the coordination of ESG efforts across the company.

We can help hold each other accountable by participating in global programs like the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which helps companies establish emissions reduction goals that are based in and contribute to the latest climate science. We are proud to be contributing alongside other companies and industries with both our SBTi-approved 2030 emissions reduction goals, and our recent road test of SBTi’s net-zero methodology.

Global operation comes with a global responsibility

Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to build ESG commitments into day-to-day operations. However, those with a global footprint have an even greater obligation to use their size and scale as a force for good and influence those within their supply chains across markets. As a global company, we recognize the impact of Lenovo’s emissions footprint and understand our responsibility to invest our resources to drive meaningful change, both internally and externally.

Within Lenovo’s recently released 2020/21 ESG Report, we’ve shared the progress we’ve made in this space as well as outlined our goals to ensure our solutions have a positive environmental impact. From our packaging and products to our global manufacturing, these objectives are integrated into all that we do.

For example, by 2025 we plan to have 90 percent of electricity used in Lenovo’s global operation obtained from renewable sources, and we will remove one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from our supply chain. Additionally, our goal is to achieve 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency of comparable desktops and servers by 2030, and 30% improvement in energy efficiency in our Motorola smartphones and Lenovo notebooks.

Take a circular economy approach

There is a limit to our planet’s natural resources, yet we continue to consume virgin resources for production. All sectors must come together to innovate and invest in the circular economy. This requires a reexamination of the business model, whether it be through the supply chain or product design. As outlined in our ESG Report, Lenovo continues to prioritize how we can integrate reduction and reuse within our global operations. One of the new goals we’re working to achieve by 2025 is to ensure 100 percent of PC products will contain post-consumer recycled materials and 90 percent of plastic packaging will be made from recycled materials. In addition, Lenovo will enable the recycling and reuse of 363 million kilograms of end-of-life products by 2025.

With more reports emphasizing the dire state of our environment getting published on a regular basis, there is no time to waste. We must act now. Collectively, we have a responsibility to work collaboratively to find sustainable solutions. Future generations are counting on us.