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Forging a path to carbon transparency

How logitech’s low-carbon design strategy is transforming an industry

Forging a path to carbon transparency
Logitech’s commitment to carbon transparency allows consumers to see the carbon impact of each product on their packaging.
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The signing of the United Nations’ Paris Agreement in 2015 marked a historic moment when nations agreed to combat climate change, setting actions and investment toward a low-carbon future. But for Logitech, an award-winning design company with a well-established approach to corporate social responsibility, sustainability initiatives had already been well underway for more than a decade. Yet industry change was slow to come. “It hadn’t felt like the world was moving fast enough, or that our company was moving fast enough, to address climate change,” says CEO Bracken Darrell. “Pretty quickly, we got aggressive on carbon reduction.”

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While Logitech was already designing products and experiences for social impact, it aggressively set emissions-reduction goals aligned to science-based targets in accordance with the agreement and introduced a strategy of designing for sustainability. The company has neutralized the carbon footprint of its entire gaming product portfolio and achieved zero emissions at its factory through the use of both renewable energy and carbon offsets. Logitech aims to use 100% renewable energy by 2030 and has already hit 89%.

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Logitech also made a commitment to total carbon transparency, developing a program that would allow consumers to see the carbon impact of each product on the product packaging, just like calorie information on food labels. The goal is to display a carbon number on packaging that can help customers make informed decisions about the environmental impact of their purchases. This innovative approach helped the company earn a spot on Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.

“We’ve moved into a world where consumers want to hear the commitment, but they also want to see action,” Darrell says. “Carbon is the new calorie, and our intention is to empower consumers in their purchasing choices, as well as show the industry we can do more.”

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A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY

To ensure an accurate carbon number, Logitech developed a Product Impact Calculator Tool as a complement to full Life Cycle Analysis that estimates carbon impact from sourcing material to the end of a product’s life. The tool is designed to provide quick comparisons of carbon impact of multiple design options early in the design process. The company partnered with third-party collaborators, including ifu Hamburg (member of iPoint Group) and an independent DEKRA-authorized verifier, to corroborate each product’s carbon footprint.

For companies that want to follow suit, Logitech has pledged to open-source the label and its methodology. “We’re not looking for the limelight; we’re looking for results,” Darrell says. “We think that if we step forward and help lead the way here, other people can lead the way to a more sustainable world in their own industries.” Darrell hopes this initiative will drive the tech industry toward greater transparency about environmental impact.

SUSTAINABILITY AND SUCCESS

Companies do not have to forfeit success to aggressively pursue a strategy of designing for sustainability, Darrell points out. In fact, Logitech’s share price is more than 15 times what it was when the company began focusing on social impact nearly a decade ago, with more growth expected in the coming year.

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“Consumers are looking for brands trying to encourage consumption behaviors that align with their values,” Darell says. “Having carbon indicators on packaging will allow customers to choose lower carbon impact alternatives.”

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FastCo Works is Fast Company's branded content studio. Advertisers commission us to consult on projects, as well as to create content and video on their behalf.

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