Each Lenovo product goes through years of arduous conceptualization, research, design, sourcing of raw materials, and manufacturing before it becomes a tangible innovation. The process is not unchallenging, requiring the brightest minds to design a full-fledged machine that’s bound to change consumers’ lifestyles or how the world works.
From engineering individual components, assembling them together, and loading the operating system that determines a device’s power, the sheer enormity of the work involved in electronics construction is digital wizardry, demanding more than a monotonous abracadabra.
Since its inception in 1984, Lenovo has grown to become a market leader in the technology industry, producing hundreds of millions of personal computers and smart devices every year for global consumers. Beyond being an IT vendor, Lenovo is also transforming into a comprehensive services and solutions provider in recent years. With a clear vision to deliver “Smarter Technology for All,” Lenovo has, in big, powerful ways, reshaped and redefined innovation across its 180 markets.
But beyond having the world’s most expansive portfolio of technology products, Lenovo is also stretching the limits of innovation for an ethical and sustainable digital future — revolutionizing modern technology as a sustainability enabler, contrary to old-school notions.
Uniting sustainability and technology
For decades, the concept of sustainable technology was considered an apparent paradox — two words believed to have conflicting existence and opposing ethics. As humankind uncovered the power of technology to give life a more convenient run, the rise of hazardous wastes and depletion of natural resources became more palpable.
But Lenovo has a different story to tell. Through the years, as the global technology powerhouse expanded its product and service lines — with its partnership with PCCW Solutions to drive leadership in IT solutions being its latest endeavor — it has also increased its participation in the circular economy — a model of production and consumption which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. Lenovo integrated new recycled materials such as magnesium, aluminum, and ocean-bound plastic into products. In fact, the company now manufactures 248 products that include closed-loop recycled plastic.
This is part of a vision to reach net zero by 2050. Lenovo’s value chain focuses on decreasing emissions across three categories, including using sold products (for notebooks, desktops, and servers); purchased goods and services, and upstream transportation.
In 2020, Lenovo set new goals to reduce greenhouse emissions by 92%, exceeding its 40% reduction goal in 2010. Through various energy efficiency projects and renewable energy installations in its biggest manufacturing facilities, Lenovo’s creating climate milestones beyond its peers.
In 2021-2022, Lenovo reported its progress toward the 2030 targets, including a 15% reduction in scope 1 and 2 (direct) emissions. The company is increasing its focus on collaborating with suppliers to reduce emissions intensity across the value chain.
“Even before the world started its ‘digital transformation,’ Lenovo has always been fully aware of the importance of putting sustainability at the core of our business. Besides government regulations, we believe that our customers have really high expectations on what we can offer in terms of sustainability and green technology,” says Mr. Ivan Cheung, Chief Operating Officer for Lenovo in the Asia Pacific and Regional General Manager of Lenovo Central Asia Pacific (CAP).
“We are the technology leader in the world. This means our impact on the economy and the environment is huge. We select our materials carefully, considering how much we can recycle and what it requires during the production,” the Hong Kong-based executive adds.
Lenovo has also been working on materials that increase the energy efficiency of desktops and servers by 50%, as well as Lenovo notebooks and Motorola products by 30% by 2030. Lenovo is also designing its packaging to use more sustainable materials like bamboo and sugarcane. It has developed a more sustainable “rack and roll” shipping method for servers that have reduced consumption per rack by 105 pounds of cardboard.
Mr. Cheung underscores the significance of maintaining sustainable practices across all of Lenovo’s supply chains. A supplier or a manufacturer’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies and visions now greatly matter in Lenovo’s partnership decision-making to ensure all the parties involved with the brand are traversing the same path to a sustainable future.
Eyes on the Asia Pacific
As a leading technology brand in the Asia Pacific region, the brand’s influence in the region’s digital evolution is massive, a fact Lenovo doesn’t take for granted.
As the key person overlooking the regional market, Mr. Cheung explains that this high level of prominence and deep market penetration allowed Lenovo to understand better the needs and demands of the consumers here and the role it plays in the region’s climate crisis management.
“The region offers unique opportunities for Lenovo but also poses challenges. With it being the most vulnerable to climate change, we acknowledge the role we play in changing how consumers in the Asia Pacific promote sustainability with our products,” Mr. Cheung says.
Lenovo’s ESG visions align with the global climate pledge under the Paris Agreement. But different markets require different strategies to realize Lenovo’s visions. Japan and Singapore have their own carbon footprint tests and limitations. Australia, meanwhile, has a funding framework for companies with ESG initiatives. Taiwan has a different method to boost environmental innovation, he adds.
However, the green shift in the region’s tech industry hasn’t fully materialized yet, admits Giap Nguyen, General Manager for Lenovo in Vietnam. In the market, particularly, the movement is just starting to gain momentum. Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s pledge to carbon neutrality by 2050 remains uncertain, but it has triggered actions nevertheless.
“Vietnam has recently been proactive in the movement against climate change. As a leading brand in the market, we look at the government’s regulations related to sustainability and investment, and we base our strategies on those. We also see that Gen Z and millennial consumers here are especially environmentally conscious with their lifestyle choices,” explains Mr. Nguyen.
More aware of the climate crisis, the new generation of consumers in Vietnam are very discerning about the brands they support. From doing extensive research on a product’s origin to recycling its packaging, the young generation is increasingly becoming more committed to not just being “woke” but taking an active role in environmental conservation.
“This is why we’ve amplified our sustainability initiatives at the market level. Based on the trends we’ve seen, we launched products that have better recycling potential and those that are certified carbon neutral, such as the flagship 14-inch Yoga Slim 9i laptop. As a brand, we want to meet the expectations of the consumers who believe in our sustainability goals.”
Innovation for a smarter future
Building on the success of its sustainability efforts through the decades, Lenovo has its eyes set on more monumental ambitions. It’s working on strategies to offer a suite of services and workshops to support customers’ sustainability goals, including asset recovery services, bulk packaging, and tailored workshops, which will have a gradual but long-lasting impact on reducing carbon emissions of back-and-forth transport and packaging systems.
Lenovo is transitioning to a circular economy through innovations in our supply chain, product design, and services. Over the next three to four years, Lenovo intends to have 84% of its repairs done without sending the PC to a service center, while 76% of repairable PC parts returned to service centers will be repaired for future use. By 2026, Lenovo will enable the recycling and reuse of 800 million pounds of end-of-life products.
And to a much larger scale, the tech conglomerate has recently completed an inaugural offering of green notes as part of a US$1.25 billion dual-trance Rule 144A/Regulation S bond offering, the largest debut technology sector ESG bond globally so far in 2022. An amount equivalent to the net proceeds from the Green Bonds will be used to finance or refinance the Company’s new or existing eligible projects under the green finance framework, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, green buildings, circular economy-adapted products, production and processes, and clean transportation.
With a proven track record and clear aspirations in ESG, Lenovo’s journey in integrating climate and environmental objectives into its commitment to innovation is an unbending pledge for a smarter, sustainable future for all.