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Planting Trees Is Not Enough, Says Logitech CEO, Pledging Major Carbon Reduction Effort

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images
  • Logitech plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 and become "climate positive" after that, CEO Bracken Darrell told CNBC on Thursday.
  • "What we need to do is actually fundamentally also reduce our footprint," said Prakash Arunkundrum, the company's head of global operations and sustainability.
  • Logitech's carbon goals extend across its supply chain and customers, Arunkundrum said.

Logitech plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 and be "climate positive" from then on by removing more carbon out of the air than it emits, CEO Bracken Darrell told CNBC on Thursday.

"We're going to take down our carbon output as a company — and all of its suppliers and customers — by 50% by then, so it's a big commitment," Darrell said in an interview on "TechCheck."

"A tree takes out about two people's worth of carbon from the air, so it's a pretty efficient technology, but we don't think it's nearly enough," Darrell said. "Until there are technologies where we can completely take carbon output down to zero, we're very aggressively redesigning our products for sustainability."

Logitech's announcement Thursday represents the latest corporate environmental pledge, as concern grows around climate change and its impacts on the planet and economy. Even so, many climate activists and experts say companies need to be more aggressive and transparent in their plans to reduce their carbon footprint.

Logitech, which makes computer peripherals such as keyboards, webcams and mice, is already "carbon neutral" this year, according to Prakash Arunkundrum, the company's head of global operations and sustainability. He said Logitech reached that target by investing in programs such as reforestation efforts to offset its existing carbon emissions.

However, the company's net-zero goal is the next, more ambitious step, and it centers on reducing its baseline emissions in half, at least, by 2030.

"Offsets in itself is not good enough," Arunkundrum said in a phone interview with CNBC. "What we need to do is actually fundamentally also reduce our footprint" through the use of more sustainable materials and more renewable energy across the supply chain, he said.

The largest chunk of Logitech's carbon footprint is generated in the sourcing and production of its products and their packaging, according to the company's website. That's where it's trying to change first.

By the end of this year, for example, half of Logitech's keyboards and mice will include consumer recycled plastic, and "we're taking it up from there," Darrell said. "We're looking for alternative materials, too, but until those are really available, we're trying to take what we're using today and put it back into our products."

Arunkundrum said Logitech's sustainability pledges extend across its supply chain and the consumers who use its headsets, mice and keyboards.

"In the entirety of our footprint, not just what's in our four walls, we're going to take responsibility for it and figure out how to remove more" carbon than the company creates, Arunkundrum said. "We think it's doable, which is why we're committing to this."

"We need to get to net zero. We need to get to climate positive quickly, and if we, the little mouse company Logitech, can do this, I'm sure a lot of others can do this too," he said. "This is hopefully the other aspiration we have, which is to actually get potentially others to join us, because if we can do this, I'm sure there are a lot of others with a much deeper pocket that could easily do this."

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