At Sony, we appreciate that our operations as a corporation are dependent on the good health of the earth’s environment. That’s why we’ve created our global environmental plan, Road to Zero, which aims to achieve a zero environmental footprint throughout the lifecycle of our products and business activities by 2050.
Working toward a zero environmental footprint by 2050, Sony sets medium-term environmental targets once every five years. These relate to each stage of the lifecycle of our products with respect to climate change, resources, chemical substances, and biodiversity. Our latest set of targets, Green Management 2025, sees Sony progressively reducing all plastic packaging materials for new small products as we move towards total elimination.
In 2011, Sony began practical use of Sustainable Oriented Recycled Plastic (SORPLAS), a flame-retardant recycled plastic made possible by a proprietary compounding technology that combines an original, non-halogen and non-phosphorous flame retardant – itself produced using a Sony-developed process – and waste plastics (polycarbonate resin) from various sources.
In recent years, environmental issues such as marine pollution have highlighted the need to reduce single-use plastics. At Sony, we’ve been working to remove plastic from our packaging for some time and in 2021 we led the industry with the launch of the Xperia PRO-I. It has zero plastic in its packaging, with plastic components either eliminated or replaced with paper materials.
Along with Sony’s corporation-wide environmental plans, we’re implementing a range of Xperia-specific sustainability initiatives.
Although we’ve been focused on reducing the environmental footprint of Xperia packaging for several years, initially we were only able to switch larger pieces of packaging from plastic to paper. As a result, our 2018 Xperia model still used approximately 27% plastic in its packaging. Over time, however, our processes have evolved so we can now remove plastic from even the smallest pieces of packaging, culminating in the Xperia PRO-I’s zero plastic packaging.
As well as working to reduce our use of precious paper resources, we’re also making it a priority to purchase paper based on sustainable policies such as FSC-certified paper and recycled paper. The pulp tray in our smartphone packaging is made from waste paper that cannot be recycled into other paper products. By selecting a raw material that matches the colour of the outer box, it can be moulded as is – no need for bleaching or colouring.
In this video our packaging design engineer, Tomoyuki Nishizaki, talks about how we achieved zero plastic packaging for the Xperia PRO-I.
As another key part of our sustainability drive, the product packaging on our 2022 Xperia models has been reduced in size by 50% compared to previous models. This reduces the shipping weight, lowering CO₂ emissions by up to 36% per unit during transportation.
Along with internal initiatives, Sony also encourages business partners, consumers, and other stakeholders to take action, so we can work together to build a sustainable society. For example, we no longer include USB cables and chargers with Xperia smartphones, since most customers already have one they can use, and we ask Xperia customers to recycle their smartphone’s packaging.