Some of the biggest names
in the video games industry, with a combined audience of 970 million players, have
formally committed to harness the power of their platforms to take action in
response to the climate crisis. Combined, these commitments from 21 companies
will result in a 30 million ton reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, will see
millions of trees planted, new “green nudges” in game design and improvements
to energy management, packaging, and device recycling.
These voluntary commitments were
announced at UN Headquarters on the side-lines of the UN Secretary-General’s
Climate Action Summit. Under the banner of the Playing for the Planet Alliance,
CEOs from 14 platforms and games makers, including Sony Interactive
Entertainment, Microsoft, Google Stadia, Rovio, Supercell, Sybo, Ubisoft and
WildWorks, were present to showcase their commitments. The Alliance intends to
support companies in sharing learning and monitoring progress on the
“The video games industry has the
ability to engage, inspire and captivate the imaginations of billions of people
across the world. This makes them a hugely important partner in addressing the
climate emergency,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment
Programme (UNEP). “We are encouraged by the commitment of these gaming
companies, which shows recognition that we all must play our role in the global
effort to lower carbon emissions and effect real change towards
These commitments were facilitated by
UNEP with the support of Playmob and following the GRID-Arendal study Playing
For The Planet, which outlines how the video games
industry, which reaches 2.6 billion people globally, can support action on the
“Today at the UN Climate Summit, I am
honored and feel privileged to join leaders in the gaming industry to make
commitments to contribute to the efforts of the UN,” said Jim Ryan, President
and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “At PlayStation, we believe games
have the power to ignite social change through educating people, evoking
emotions, and inspiring hope. We could not be prouder to be part of the Playing
for the Planet Alliance and we look forward to seeing what the industry can
“Climate change is impacting each
industry and every sector, and we believe technology can play a critical role
in enabling and empowering the response to this challenge,” said Phil Spencer,
executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft. “Initiatives like our
Minecraft Build a Better World Campaign and CarbonNeutral Xbox pilot provide a
great opportunity to tap into Microsoft’s technology sustainability and gaming
community to make a difference in this key area of our business.”
The commitments include:
Sony Interactive Entertainment will
unveil new progress and plans to utilize energy efficient technology (on-track
to avoid 29 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030), to introduce low power
suspend mode for next generation PlayStation, to assess and report their carbon
footprint and to educate and inspire the gaming community to take action on
Microsoft will announce the
expansion of its existing operational commitment to carbon neutrality,
established in 2012, into its devices and gaming work. It will set a new target
to reduce its supply chain emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 – including
end-of-life for devices – and to certify 825,000 Xbox consoles as carbon
neutral in a pilot program. In addition, Microsoft will engage gamers in
sustainability efforts in real life through the Minecraft its ‘Build a Better
World’ initiative, which has seen players take more than 20 million in-game
Google Stadia, which is set to
launch later in the year, will produce a new Sustainable Game Development Guide
as well as funding research into how “green nudges” can be effectively
incorporated into game play.
Supercell (Clash of Clans) will
offset the entire footprint of their community, Rovio (Angry Birds)
has offset the carbon impact from their players charging their devices,
and Sybo (Subway Surfer) and Space Ape (Fastlane) will
offset 200 per cent of their studio and their gamers mobile energy use.
Guidance documents will assist other companies to take similar actions.
Wild Works (Animal Jam) will
integrate restoration elements in games and, like Green Man Gaming, they
will focus on restoring some of the world’s forests with major tree-planting
Ubisoft will develop in-game
green themes and will source materials from eco-friendly
factories and Sports Interactive will eliminate 20 tonnes of
packaging by switching from plastic to a recycled alternative for all future
Football Manager releases.
Creative Mobile’s ZooCraft will
evolve into a conservation-focused game with Reliance Games (Little
Singham) generating awareness in the fastest growing mobile gaming market
by creating awareness with kids to make them ambassadors for climate change
with in-game events and initiatives across India. The biggest independent gaming
platform in China, iDreamSky has committed to putting green nudges
into its games.
E-Line Media (Never Alone, Beyond
Blue), Strange Loop (Eco) and Internet of Elephants (Safari
Central) will share their expertise of making high impact environmentally oriented
games into the Alliance
Finally, Twitch have
committed to utilizing their platform to spread this message to the global
gaming community with Niantic Inc (Pokemon Go) committing to engage
their community to act around sustainability issues.
campaigns connected to our Angry Birds games and movies over the years, we know
our fans are just as angry as us about climate change,” said Kati
Levoranta, Rovio Entertainment CEO. “Considering the enormity of the
environmental challenges that face us in years to come, we as an industry must
stand with our players and be evangelists for action.”
Too often, there can be a trade-off
between games that are designed to be educational but without reaching the
masses. To address this, many of the companies will host design-jams with their
creatives to consider how they can mindfully incentivize better environmental
outcomes within the games, without limiting the fun and enjoyment for players.
Speaking in support of this
initiative, Mathias Gredal Norvig, CEO of Sybo, the organization behind Subway
Surfer, said: “Video gaming might seem like an unlikely ally in this
battle, but this Alliance is a critical platform where all of us can play our
part to decarbonize our impact and bring the issues into gameplay. I am a
strong believer in sparking curiosity and conversations wherever people are,
and with 2 billion people playing games, this platform has a reach that’s
second to none.”
Amit Khanduja, CEO of Reliance Games,
said: “The Mobile Games industry has to take the lead in the emerging
markets to raise awareness among the next billion gamers coming online to lead
the way for climate change. We are honoured to be part of this strong UN
initiative for a better tomorrow.”
Members of the Alliance that have made
commitments include: Creative Mobile, E-Line Media, Google Stadia, Green Man
Gaming, iDreamSky, Internet of Elephants, Microsoft, Niantic Inc, Pixelberry,
Reliance Games, Rovio, Space Ape, Sports Interactive, Supercell, Sony
Interactive Entertainment, Strange Loop, Sybo, Twitch, Ubisoft, WildWorks and
will be supported by Playmob.
There was the sense at the United
Nations Climate Action Summit that took place September 23, that the Trump
Administration – but not the United States – is irrelevant to the crusade to
mitigate the most devastating impacts of climate change. Indeed, the rest of
the world, American states, localities and businesses, is forging full steam
ahead to prevent the earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius – and all
the devastation that would result – within the next 12 years.
“We know why tackling climate change is important”, said Deputy
Secretary-General Amina Mohammed before the Climate Action Summit began. “The
devastation wreaked by Dorian on the Bahamas, what the Secretary-General called
a Category Hell hurricane, is a glimpse into one aspect of a future powered by
climate change – a future with super storms that grow in intensity and
frequency, where those countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions,
continue to feel the worst impacts of the planet’s rising temperatures.”
“The summit will present practical and new measures, speed transition from
coal to clean energy, cut pollution harming health, protect nature, unlock the potential
of nature to deliver on climate, create cleaner greener waste, speed up transition
from grey to green economies, mitigate impacts of climate change, leave no one
behind, transition must be ramped up now,” she said at a press briefing before
The Climate Action Summit was
designed to showcase only the boldest, transformative actions – specifics, not
hyperbole or speechifying.
“We will see what climate leadership
looks like – progress toward carbon neutral future.”
Trump snubbed the summit, choosing instead to host a Religious Freedom Forum, and highlighted America’s military might but did not mention climate change once, in his address to the General Assembly. But just about every other leader did refer to the critical need and their commitment to climate action in their speech.
we afford to ignore the crisis of extinction, or will we do the right thing,
support energies and talents of all the world’s youth and drive all the
economies forward to fair and inclusive society?” Abdullah
II bin Al–Hussein, King of Jordan, declared. “What will our world
become if we do not work together for a healthy and safe climate. We already
know the dangers of climate change – how can we excuse [inaction]”
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, president of
Croatia, declared, “Climate
change- rising sea levels – is the greatest threat. Without protection of
waters and marine life, there will be nothing to leave.”
Russia, one of the few holdouts and
one of the world’s largest carbon emitters with an economy largely based on
fossil fuel extraction and export, used the occasion to officially adopt the
Paris Climate Agreement. The document signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says
Russia will now “allocate financial resources… to developing countries
for prevention and adaptation to climate change. The threat of climate change
is (the) destruction of the ecological balance, increased risks for successful
development of key industries… and most importantly, threat to safety of
people living on permafrost and increase of natural disasters.”
Governor Janet Mills of Maine challenged
leaders of the world to take action against climate change, saying the State of
Maine will do its part and announcing that she has signed an Executive Order
committing the state to carbon neutrality by 2045.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced
New York State is pursuing partnerships with Ireland and Denmark that will lead
to improved electric infrastructure and the advancement of more renewable
energy sources, including offshore wind. The agreements were announced during
Climate Week and will advance both New York’s nation-leading plan to combat
climate change and the Governor’s Green New Deal agenda. This summer,
Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,
which mandates New York’s power be 100 percent clean and carbon-free by 2040. New
York is one of 25 states including California that have formed the US Climate
Alliance (USclimatealliance.org) to
uphold the Paris Agreement. – collectively representing over 50% of the US
population and 60% of the United States’
Mohammed acknowledged that the transition “is not one-size fits all
– in some countries, renewable energy is already cheaper than coal; others need
funding options. It’s not enough that we stop funding coal and actively move to
making renewable possible –there is tension there. We must be realistic – you can’t
click fingers and create a renewable grid overnight but we also determined there
are over 100 coal plants in pipeline and emissions are still rising – that pathway
is a serious threat to human survival.”
Informed by the perspectives of more than 130 Governments, a newly issued
report, The Heat is On – Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition,
reveals that business as usual, is not good enough and requires more
mitigation, adaptation and finance – all which must be done quickly.
“When I look back on this Climate
Action Summit, I want us to see it as a sling shot – that helped to change our
common trajectory towards sustainability”, said Ms. Mohammed, building trust
“between this generation of adults and the next – between our children and
ourselves – that we are all working together to our fullest potential to tackle
the climate emergency”.
She recapped that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
stressed the need to ensure that “the global temperature rise does not go
beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius” through “cutting emissions by 45 per cent by 2030”,
warning that “we have very little time to take the decisions needed to get
Those decisions should be set out in each country’s Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDCs) on climate change, which she called “the cornerstone of
“The world’s poorest 1 billion, we
are least responsible for climate crisis – emitting less than 1% of global
emissions, yet, our small gross national
incomes and limited resources means we suffer the most,” said Sonam P.
Wangdi, Secretary of the National Environment Commission, Bhutan.
States, with only 5% of the population is responsible for 25% of carbon
emissions, and the present administration, which hides behind science denial in
order to preserve the status quo of their economic systems, will have a huge
impact on whether the efforts made by 190 countries succeed in preserving the
planet. But though the government was a no-show at the Climate Action Summit,
states, localities and business interests were on hand, offering their
commitments so that the United States will achieve the goals of the Paris
Climate Agreement led by Obama and rejected by Trump.
was just as if the world has moved on, rendering the United States irrelevant.
The thought of holding the US accountable for reparations when an island nation
like the Bahamas is devastated by Hurricane Dorian, was discounted. “Who would
enforce a decision?” said Wilfred P.
Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belize, a statement made from the
experience of Trinidad & Tobago which won a judgment against the US in the
World Trade Organization that has yet to be paid.
Developing States are stepping up and striking back.
“The recent activity of Dorian in Bahamas – devastated that island, and unless you really have experience this kind of devastation it is hard to appreciate how difficult, how absolutely destructive it is,” said Elrington, recalling his own terror at the age of 4 years old when a Category 4 hurricane hit. “From one moment being in a safe, secure structure or building, the next to be completely out in environment with absolutely nothing – you have absolutely nothing – no clothes, medicine, food, completely at the mercy of God. We think of the damage to human beings and the destruction, but equally tragic is the destruction done to floral and fauna – exceedingly depressing to see the entire landscape devastated and and of course, does not come back quickly.”
Apart from saving habitats, climate
mitigation and adaptation has the added benefit of addressing poverty and
inequality, in part perpetuated by the cost – and reliance –on fossil fuels as
the basis for an economy. Shifting to clean, renewable like solar, wind, water,
geothermal, lowers the expenditure and increases the independence from
concentrated utility companies. Eliminating fossil fuels also reduces pollution
and improves health.
worldwide pressure – by citizens and consumers – the private sector is being
forced to take action as well. Sixteen
countries are phasing out gasoline-powered cars over the next several years,
rendering US-manufactured cars unexportable, regardless of how Trump attempts
to overturn California’s call for higher fuel efficiency standards and lower
Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment
Just announced, “first of its kind,” Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment “will transform mainstream infrastructure investment and drive a permanent shift toward climate resilient economy for all countries, but especially for low and mid income countries which bear the brunt,” said John Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson, one of the world’s largest insurance companies. One of the ways it will change the way money is invested in business ventures and infrastructure is by creating new data analytics that incorporate the cost-benefit of climate adaptation, mitigation and resiliency into the model. “Rapid advancement in data analytics, coupled in momentum of regulatory initiatives and growing pressure from global society is what allows this initiative to be as ambitious as it is.”
He said, “I come from the world of
insurance. We work on a lot of analytical tools to price the effect of climate
disasters. We will take those kind of analytical tools and build them into
understanding what kind of investments we should make in infrastructure – measure
the impacts of climate on infrastructure everywhere in the world – more
important in vulnerable communities but everywhere in the world [including US,
where former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been saying the very thing in
pushing for a carbon tax].
“Pricing the risks
posed by climate change will create opportunities to build a network of
resilient infrastructure in high, medium and low-income countries, enabling us
to better prevent future human and financial disasters.”
The coalition will
develop case studies to build the business case, and identify the critical
enabling environments, for climate resilient infrastructure investment.
By the end of
2020, analytical tools including a physical risk pricing framework and
methodology to prioritize national resilient investment needs, will be
developed, alongside a range of instruments to prevent capital flight from
Biggest Names in Video Game Industry
Commit to Climate Action
in a major mind-blowing commitment, 21 of the biggest names in the video games
industry, with a combined audience of 970 million players, formally committed
to harness the power of their platforms to take action in response to the
climate crisis. Combined, these commitments will result in a 30 million ton
reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, will see millions of trees planted, new
“green nudges” in game design and improvements to energy management, packaging,
and device recycling. Equally significantly, under
the banner of Playing for the Planet Alliance, many will incorporate
sustainability and climate action into the games, themselves, letting gamers,
for example, toy with building sustainable societies.
voluntary commitments were announced during the UN Climate Action Summit. CEOs
from 14 platforms and games makers, including Sony Interactive Entertainment,
Microsoft, Google Stadia, Rovio, Supercell, Sybo, Ubisoft and WildWorks, were
present to showcase their commitments. The Alliance intends to support
companies in sharing learning and monitoring progress on the environmental
Clearly the world’s leaders are finally listening to the rising tide of civic actions, including an outpouring of youth activists, not asking but demanding action on climate change – preventing the planet from heating more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of global warming, from rising sea levels, more frequent and violent superstorms, wildfires, droughts, floods and famines, extinction of wildlife and plants due to lost habitats, and the health impacts due to the spread of epidemics, disease and illness.
Major announcements by government and private sector
leaders during the course of the day-long United Nations Climate Action Summit,
September 23, boosted climate action momentum, and demonstrated growing
recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated.
77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas
emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will either
boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing
Over 100 business leaders delivered concrete actions
to align with the Paris Agreement targets, and speed up the transition from the
grey to green economy, including asset-owners holding over $2 trillion in
assets and leading companies with combined value also over $2 trillion.
Many countries and over 100 cities – including many
of the world’s largest – announced significant and concrete new steps to combat
the climate crisis.
Many smaller countries, including Small Island
Developing States and Least Developed Countries, were among those who made the
biggest pledges, despite the fact they have contributed the least to the
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, closing the
Summit, said “You have delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition.
But we have a long way to go. We need more concrete plans, more ambition from
more countries and more businesses. We need all financial institutions, public
and private, to choose, once and for all, the green economy.”
including Greta Thunberg, who in an impassioned address that followed a
worldwide Climate Strike, said, “We will be watching,” drove home the urgency
of greater action by leaders, and their determination to hold leaders to
Among the major announcements:
• France announced that it would not enter into any
trade agreement with countries that have policies counter to the Paris
• Germany committed to carbon neutrality by 2050
• Russia, one of the few holdouts
and one of the world’s largest carbon emitters, with an economy largely based
on fossil fuel extraction and export, adopted the Paris Climate Agreement.
• 12 countries made financial
commitments to the Green Climate Fund, the official financial mechanism to
assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter
climate change. This is in addition to recent announcements from Norway,
Germany, France and the United Kingdom who have recently doubled their present
• The United Kingdom made a major additional
contribution, doubling its overall international climate finance to L11.6
billion for the period from 2020 to 2025.
• India pledged to increase renewable energy
capacity to 175gw by 2022 and committed to further increasing to 450GW, and
announced that 80 countries have joined the International Solar Alliance.
• China said it would cut emissions by over 12
billion tons annually, and would pursue a path of high quality growth and low
• The European Union announced at least 25% of the
next EU budget will be devoted to climate-related activities.
• The Russian Federation announced that they will
ratify the Paris Agreement, bringing the total number of countries that have
joined the Agreement to 187.
• Pakistan said it would plant more than 10 billion
trees over the next five years. On unprecedented levels of private sector
• A group of the world’s largest asset-owners —
responsible for directing more than $2 trillion in investments — committed to
move to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.
• 87 major companies with a combined market
capitalization of over US$ 2.3 trillion pledged to reduce emissions and align
their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts
of climate change—a 1.5°C future.
• 130 banks – one-third of the global banking sector
– signed up to align their businesses with the Paris agreement goals On
transitioning from brown to green energy:
• Michael Bloomberg will increase the funding and
geographic spread of his coal phase out efforts to 30 countries. Already, his
work has helped to close 297 out of 530 coal plants in the US.
• Countries, including France and New Zealand,
announced that they will not allow oil or gas exploration on their lands or
• Heads of State from Finland, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovakia, are among those
that announced that they will work to phase out coal. The Republic of Korea
announced it would shut down four coal-fired power plants, and six more will be
closed by 2022, as well as the doubling of its contribution to the Green
• The Summit also delivered critical platforms for
improving energy efficiency and reducing the growing energy needs for cooling,
with the “Three Percent Club” coalition working to drive a three percent annual
global increase in energy efficiency and the Cool Coalition setting ambitious
national cooling targets for its members with the potential to deliver up to 1
degree on the pathway to a 2050 net zero carbon world. On scaling up financing
and unlocking barriers to funds:
• Many countries announced new contributions to the
Green Climate Fund, the official financial mechanism to assist developing
countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change,
with several countries, including France, Germany, Norway and the United
Kingdom, announcing that they would double their present contributions.
• Further, the Climate Investment Platform,
officially announced during the Summit, will seek to directly mobilize US$ 1
trillion in clean energy investment by 2025 in 20 Least Developed Countries in
its first year.
• The African Development Bank said it was doubling
its climate-related financing to $25 billion by 2025. Funding will go to
projects including a multi-billion initiative to develop 10,000 megawatts of
solar power from the Sahara that will provide electricity to 250 million
a difference a green, more prosperous, resilient, peaceful and secure future
will mean,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African
• Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment – just announced and the first of its kind – “will transform mainstream infrastructure investment and drive a permanent shift toward climate resilient economy for all countries, but especially for low and mid income countries which bear the brunt” by providing data analytical tools to price in the cost of climate resiliency into investments, said John Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson, one of the world’s largest insurance companies.
• The state of Maine committed to carbon
neutrality by 2045.
• Summit initiatives were designed to ensure the
actions undertaken would be fair for all, supporting jobs and clear air for
better health, and protect the most vulnerable, as well as new initiatives on
adaptation, agriculture and early warning systems that will protect 500 million
additional people against the impacts of climate change.
New initiatives announced have been designed to be scaled up to deliver
impact at the global scale needed. The Secretary-General urged governments,
businesses and people everywhere to join the initiatives announced at the
Summit, and promised to “keep pushing” for greater ambition and action.
The Secretary-General committed the UN system to
support implementation of plans presented at the Summit, with an initial report
to be delivered at COP25 in Santiago, Chile.