As the world is now pondering post-COVID economic recovery and social revival, an increasingly important concern shared by the global community is the emergency around climate change. Public and private sectors have come together to find solutions. Among the global technology leaders rising to this challenge is Lenovo, the world’s largest PC manufacturer and a solution provider. Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang recently addressed both the path his company is on and strategies that can help a wide range of industries more effectively address environmental challenges at his keynote address at Caixin Roundtable: Rethinking Impact Investing in China.
“Extreme weather has no borders,” Yang said. “If we are truly committed to sustainable growth, we must all do our share of duty to reduce carbon footprint. If done right, we can turn the post-pandemic economic reconstruction into an opportunity to improve global ecology.”
Yang shared his view from a business leader’s perspective, against the larger background that more countries formulated national carbon strategies and set specific goals for carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions, on how green innovation will not only bring environmental and social benefit but also generate economic value and strengthen long-term competitiveness of private sector and individual enterprises. To that end, he laid out Lenovo’s commitments and plans on how to contribute through greener management of its own operations and its ecosystem.
“Compared with traditional manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing may not be the most energy-intensive industry, but it has sophisticated supply chains and relatively high overall power consumption,” Yang noted. Research from Canada’s McMaster University predicts that by 2040 information and communications technology (ICT) will account for 14% of global emissions, up from 1.6% in 2007.
Yang welcomes the right moves that many companies have taken so far, such as disclosing emissions data, setting greenhouse gas reduction and carbon neutrality goals, utilizing renewable energy, just to name a few. As the CEO of a global technology leader, he is particularly keen on applying intelligent technology and solutions to improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impact at the same time.
“High-tech manufacturers have the power to enhance their manufacturing and supply chain systems to be not only green but also digital and intelligent, driving green transformation of the entire value chain,” Yang advocated. “Across the entire lifecycle of products and services, companies can implement green purchasing, launch eco-friendly designs, build green products, accelerate green manufacturing and guide green consumption.”
“There were arguments about environment protection delivering not much economic value, but that view was out of dated and proven to be wrong.” Yang pointed out that by using more green technologies, processes, equipment and materials, companies are increasing raw material utilization rate, reducing energy consumption and expenses, winning customer, and adding more value to their brands and reputation.
Green innovation and green operations are eventually benefiting everyone, a core concept of the company’s Smarter Technology for All vision.
“Our innovation and growth must serve the purpose of improving lives, making society more diverse, equitable and inclusive, and building a more sustainable environment,” said Yang.
One great example Yang highlights is Lenovo’s liquid cooling technology that has become one of the most reliable and feasible solutions for data centers. The use of Lenovo liquid cooling reduces energy consumption by up to 40% while maintaining uncompromised performance. And by integrating science with intelligent computing, Lenovo is ushering in a new era of green high-performance computing.
That’s also clear at Lenovo’s manufacturing base in Hefei of East China’s Anhui province — where one out of every eight PCs sold globally is made. It deploys Lenovo Advanced Production Scheduling System (L-A-P-S) to improve production efficiency and reduce idle time, saving more than 2,696 MWh of electricity annually. This annual saving of electricity translates to an emission reduction of 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide, an impact comparable to planting 110,000 trees per year. L-A-P-S was among the finalists for the Franz Edelman Award 2021, which is sometimes referred to as the “Oscar in operations research”.
Beyond its own operations, Lenovo is driving low-carbon transformation through its clients in broader social and economic sectors. One example is Lenovo’s predictive maintenance solution for the energy industry. Through remote sensors it helped improve wind turbine utilization and power generation efficiency, reducing the client’s operating and maintenance costs by 5%.
Lenovo’s actions and results related to operating an environmentally responsible business are significant. As the company noted on Earth Day, Lenovo had used over 110 million pounds of recycled plastic across its product portfolio since 2005, eliminated over 3,100 tons of packaging waste since 2008, reduced packaging consumption by 560 tons in fiscal year 2019/2020, and joined the UN’s CEO Water Mandate to advance water stewardship and decrease water stress by 2050.
But Yang said Lenovo won’t stop there and is already looking ahead. After achieving the target of reducing scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 92% over the last decade, he has announced that Lenovo now sets aggressive, Science-Based Targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gases by an additional 50 percent by 2030 and to have intensity emission targets for three key categories of Lenovo’s scope 3 emissions (suppliers, product transportation and use of sold products).
“The challenge could be monumental, but not an impossible one,” Yang said.
For more details, please visit Yuanqing Yang’s LinkedIn story.