Tencent and Apple lead carbon emissions change in the games industry

A new AfterClimate report has revealed how the games industry is addressing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability.
league of legends riot games wargaming sydney

Sustainability firm AfterClimate has released its latest report on the games industry, identifying the biggest strides towards net zero climate targets worldwide. As revealed, a range of companies are positively contributing to sustainability efforts, with Tencent, Apple, Nintendo, and Ubisoft all managing to positively reduce their impact year-on-year between 2021 and 2022.

According to a breakdown of public data by AfterClimate, Tencent managed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 13.73% in 2022, while Apple managed a reduction by 11%. Nintendo follows, with a 2.95% reduction, and Ubisoft managed a 0.14% reduction. While only incremental, AfterClimate has congratulated these companies for their efforts, as change “only comes through diligent, determined effort.”

As AfterClimate outlines, a reduction in emissions in 2022 is actually a significant feat, particularly given that 2021 was marked by pandemic-induced emission reductions – and with many of the market restrictions being lifted in 2022, companies quickly invested in new opportunities, kicking off new developments.

“2022 was not a typical year – pandemic restrictions loosened, borders reopened, and business activity returned to something approaching pre-pandemic normalcy,” AfterClimate reported. “In all sectors, businesses saw emission grow after two years of lockdowns and high levels of work from home. For this reason it is worth celebrating those few that were able to reduce emissions for this achievement.”

Read: Xbox shares sustainability update in new report

Still, according to AfterClimate, the successes of Tencent, Apple, Nintendo, and Ubisoft aren’t quite enough to celebrate significant change in the wider games industry – as some companies “are still not doing the bare minimum” in terms of transparently disclosing emissions, and working to reduce them overall.

Per the organisation’s analysis, there is a “rapidly widening gulf” between industry leaders making real progress, and those “sleepwalking into climate risk” – particularly given that 2023 is set to be the hottest year on record, with high risk for climate disasters worldwide.

As revealed in the report, over 81 million tonnes of CO2 was disclosed by games and tech companies in 2022, with big companies including Tencent, Sony, Microsoft, Google, and Apple significantly contributing to these emissions, as larger companies. While Tencent and Apple achieved success in reducing their overall emissions in the last year, AfterClimate is calling on Sony, Microsoft, Google, and other large companies to do more to reduce their carbon footprint.

In 2022, Microsoft reported a 16.5% increase in emissions, Sony reported a 17% increase, and Google recorded an estimated 18% increase. The report also identifies that game developer and publisher NCSoft had a 576% increase in gas emissions in 2022, which it attributes to a likely methodology change at the company.

AfterClimate has encouraged a renewed commitment to sustainability from games industry stalwarts in the coming years, in an effort to ward off climate change. It has stated that companies including Epic Games, Valve, Nexon, Warner Bros. Discovery, Konami, Square Enix, and more are not doing enough to track and report emissions progress, and that change is needed in future.

While a more positive outcome is expected in 2023, as a result of companies stabilising production and technology use post-COVID, the AfterClimate report definitively states that more needs to be done as climate change continues to threaten our state of living.

You can view the entire AfterClimate Game Industry Net Zero Snapshot 2023 on the organisation’s website.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.