New York, 23 September 2019 – Some of the biggest names in the video games industry, with a combined audience of 970 million players, have today 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 tonne reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, millions of trees planted, new “green nudges” in game design, and improvements to energy management, packaging, and device recycling.
These voluntary commitments were announced today at UN Headquarters on the occasion 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 environmental agenda.
“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 sustainability.”
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 environmental agenda.
“Today at the UN Climate Summit, I am honoured 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 achieve together.”
“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:
Dr Trista Patterson of GRID-Arendal, lead author of the Playing for the Planet study, said: “These companies are reporting that the Alliance has already accelerated new corporate actions, in some cases by a factor of 50 to 1. Working together can create astoundingly rapid, transformative change – in a very important window of time.”
“Through awareness-raising 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 incentivise 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 organisation 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 decarbonise 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.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
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.
About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):
The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
For further information on the Playing for the Planet Alliance, contact:
A film showcasing the commitments of the industry to be shown at the UN Climate Action Summit can be viewed at www.playing4theplanet.org