Samsung Electronics
Consumer electronics
Established in 1969, the flagship company in the Samsung Group operates in consumer electronics, information technology, mobile communications and device solutions.

Overall

Owned KOR
Rating F
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
KOR
Samsung Group
owns 100% of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
KOR
Industrial Group
South Korea's #1 business group (Hyundai is #2). Businesses arms include electronics, trading, financial services and chemicals.

Company Assessment

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
Praise
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of A-.
Source: CDP (2023)
The 2023 Digital Inclusion Benchmark ranks 200 companies on their responsibility to advance a more inclusive digital society. The companies were assessed using four measurement areas: access, skills, use and innovation. This company ranked #7/200, with a total score of 61.3/100.
The 2022 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 127 companies in the food and agriculture, ICT and automotive manufacturing sectors on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 36.2%. The overall average score was a disappointing 17.3% and the highest score was 50.3%.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to manage and govern freshwater resources. Responding companies are scored on six key metrics: transparency; governance & strategy; measuring & monitoring; risk assessment; targets & goals; and value chain engagement. This company received a CDP Water Security score of B.
Source: CDP (2023)
Criticism
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of F.
As You Sow's 2019 report, Mining the Disclosures, is a deep analysis of 215 companies' human rights performance in relation to sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This company's score was 20.3% (Weak).
Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) evaluates and ranks 14 of the world's most powerful digital platforms on their policies and practices affecting people's rights to freedom of expression and privacy. In RDR's 2022 Big Tech Scorecard, none of the digital platforms earned a passing grade. This company ranked #11/14, with a total score of 26/100.
Engineers from ifixit.com disassembled and analysed a range of smartphones, tablets and laptops, awarding each a repairability score between one and ten. Ten is the easiest to repair. A device with a perfect score will be relatively inexpensive to repair because it is easy to disassemble and has a service manual available. Points are docked based on the difficulty of opening the device, the types of fasteners found inside, and the complexity involved in replacing major components. Points are awarded for upgradability, use of non-proprietary tools for servicing, and component modularity. Products released by this company between 2017 and 2022 scored between 2 and 4 points.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 38/100 in the Computers & Peripherals and Office Electronics category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 18 Nov 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Information
Greenpeace's 2017 report 'Clicking Clean' looks at the energy footprints of large data centre operators and popular websites and applications, and calls on these companies to power their data centres on renewable energy. Companies are graded (A,B,C,D,F) on their commitment to and procurement of renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency, transparency and advocacy. This company's final grade was D. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company received a grade of D- in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics (Oct 2017), which assesses companies from the electronics industry across three impact areas: energy use, resource consumption, and chemical elimination. Of the 17 companies ranked, this company came thirteenth. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company is a client of Biel Crystal, supplier of 60% of the world's touchscreen cover glasses. This SACOM 2013 investigative report discovered serious labour rights abuses in Biel Crystal's Chinese factories including excessive working hours, military-style management, worker suicides and blank work contracts. Moreover, Biel Crystal's Shenzhen factory has been fined by the Shenzhen municipal government for 3 continuous years of polluting the environment. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This 2012 report by China Labour Watch investigates eight Chinese factories supplying to Samsung. The report reveals 16 major sets of labor mistreatment in these factories, including forced and excessive overtime, exhausting working conditions, inhumane treatment of workers, discrimination worker abuse and a lack of any effective complaint mechanisms. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
The Poisonous Pearl is a 2016 report by Good Electronics which focuses on the experiences of (former) workers in the electronics industry in China who are victims of chemical poisoning. The health of all the workers in the report was damaged by exposure to hazardous chemicals such as benzene and n-hexane. All were working in large or small factories in the Pearl River Delta-region of China, an area well known as being a global hub for the production of consumer electronics (ICT). This company is supplied by factories in the region.
Source: SOMO (2016)
This 2016 scorecard by SOMO compares electronics companies on their policies and efforts regarding responsible mining and the elimination of child labour, with special attention to the mining of gold. This company is above industry standard on only 2 out of 7 criteria.
Electronics manufacturing in Brazil started with the same kinds of labour violations as seen in countries like China. However over time Brazil's comprehensive labour laws and enforcement thereof have improved conditions for workers, particularly in the areas of excessive working hours and inappropriate use of temporary labour. Despite this, wages are still well below a living wage, unhealthy working conditions remain, and workers still experience harassment and a "culture of fear". [Listed under Information due to age of report]
Source: SOMO (2017)
A 2017 report by Amnesty International, 'Time to Recharge' ranks major electronics and car companies on how much they have improved their cobalt sourcing practices since January 2016. The report found that while a handful of companies have made progress, many are still not doing enough to stop human rights abuses entering their cobalt supply chains, even though their products could be linked to child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This company was rated 'minimal action taken'. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
In November 2017 the Enough Project published Demand the Supply, which ranked consumer electronics and jewelry retail companies on their efforts to develop conflict-free minerals supply chains from Congo. Companies were ranked on reporting; sourcing conflict-free minerals from Congo; supporting the artisanal mining communities in Eastern Congo; and conflict-free minerals advocacy. This company received a score of 17.5/120. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
In 2013 Samsung was fined US$16.2 million by the Chinese government over charges that they fixed the prices of LCD panels that they sold to Chinese TV makers from 2001 to 2006. [Listed under Information due to age of court finding]
Six firms, including this company, were fined a record 1.47b euros (AU$1.89b) in Dec 2012 by EU antitrust regulators for fixing prices of TV and monitor cathode-ray tubes for nearly a decade between 1996 and 2006. Samsung had a penalty of 150.8m euros. Samsung has also received price fixing fines in South Korea, Taiwan, China, Europe and the USA. [Listed under Information due to age of court finding]
In 2011 this company and 5 other makers of liquid crystal displays agreed to pay more than $535m to settle consumer and state regulatory claims in the USA that they conspired to fix prices for LCD panels in televisions, notebook computers and monitors. Samsung is to pay $240m.
In 2012 a jury in California ordered this company to pay Apple $1.05 billion for patent infringement. Apple and Samsung have filed similar lawsuits in eight other countries, including South Korea, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain, France and Australia.
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition's Recycling Report Card evaluates takeback and recycling programs for computer, TV, printer and game console companies. The report card focuses on the programs available to consumers in the US, and relies on publicly available information, as of Sept 2010. This company received a grade of B- for its recycling efforts in the USA.
B+ grade in the Baptist World Aid Australia's Behind the Barcode 'Ethical Electronics Guide 2016', which grades companies on their efforts to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation throughout their supply chains. Assessment criteria fall into four main categories: policies, traceability & transparency, monitoring & training and worker rights. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company is a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition), a non-profit coalition of electronics companies which supports the rights and wellbeing of workers and communities worldwide affected by the global electronics supply chain. RBA members commit and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of RBA training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement in the social, environmental and ethical responsibility of their supply chains.
Source: RBA (2022)
This company is a member of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), a leading source of impartial information, resources and best practices for achieving integrated social and environmental sustainability through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Source: GeSI (2016)
This company is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (formerly the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative), which helps companies address conflict minerals issues in their supply chains. The RMI provides information on conflict-free smelters and refiners, common tools to gather sourcing information, and forums for exchanging best practices on addressing conflict minerals. Membership is open to companies that use or transact in tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold (3TG). Founded in 2008 by members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
Source: RMI (2019)
This 2015 report by Good Electronics rates electronics companies on their compliance with labour rights in Mexico. This company was rated 'bare minimum'.
In 2022 KnowTheChain benchmarked 60 information, communications and technology (ICT) companies on their efforts to identify and tackle forced labour risks in their supply chains. This company received a score of 46/100. The average score was 20/100 and the highest score was 63.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre digital platform presents news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies. Their enhanced Company Dashboards also include financial information, key data points based on corporate policies, and scores from prominent civil society benchmarks. Follow the link and use the search function to view this company's dashboard.
This company received a score of 53.7/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
Samsung Group
Criticism
The 2018 update to the report entitled "Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions" identifies 88 banks and other financial institutions with significant financial links to cluster munitions producers. This bank is listed in the report's Hall of Shame for having investments in one or more of the 7 cluster munitions producers named in the report.
The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including brands owned by this company. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute's 2020 report estimates (somewhat conservatively) that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.
Source: ASPI (2020)
This company scores Ethical Consumer's worst rating for the likely use of tax avoidance strategies, and has at least two high risk subsidiaries in tax havens.
Information
Identified in 'The Big Chill: Too Scared to Speak' report which identified Chinese Olympic Sponsors response to Darfur crisis in Sudan. Received a D-. These companies received a grade slightly higher than outright failure because they met with the campaign. Notably, Samsung sent two executives to New York from South Korea for a meeting with campaign.
This company appeared fourth on RepRisk's top ten "most environmentally and socially controversial companies of 2012". Companies on the list were severely criticised during 2012 by the world's media, governments and NGOs. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company appeared tenth on RepRisk's top ten "Most Controversial Companies of 2013". Companies on the list were severely criticised during 2013 by the world's media, governments and NGOs. Criticisms of Samsung Group included occupational, health and safety issues and poor employment conditions at its factories as well as human rights abuses, including child labor, within its supply chain. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company has products that are certified by the Carbon Trust, signifying that the carbon footprint of selected products has been measured, managed and reduced. A life cycle product carbon footprint is determined by calculating the total greenhouse gas emissions generated by a product, from extraction of raw-materials, to end-of-life.
This company has extensive sustainability claims on its website in the areas of strategy, corporate citizenship, environment, diversity & inclusion, responsible labor practice, supply chain, ethics, report & policy, and facts & figures.
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 48.68/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
In 2014 Samsung Group sold four chemical and defense units to Hanwha Group for an estimated US$1.7 billion. The deal makes Hanwha Korea's main defense giant, and includes Samsung Techwin (now Hanwha Techwin), maker of armoured tanks and other weapons for the South Korean army and the Turkish army.
Samsung C&T Corporation is involved in the construction of nuclear power plants in the UAE.
This company is listed on the Facing Finance website as a company that manufactures weapons or profits from violations of human rights, pollution, corruption, or international law. Follow link for further details.

Company Details

Type:
Public company
Revenue:
217 billion USD (2013)
Employees:
236,000 (2012)
Subsidiaries:
Samsung Electronics Australia Pty Ltd
Electronics wholesaler
Sales and marketing subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, part of the Samsung Group.
Harman International Industries Inc
Electronics
Harmans business units are: connected car technology, lifestyle audio, and professional audio and lighting solutions. Acquired by Samsung in 2017.

Contact Details

Address:
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Website:
www.samsung.com

Products / Brands

Samsung Australia
Gear VR VR Headsets
Samsung Audio Equipment
Samsung Blu-Ray/DVD Players
Samsung Televisions
Samsung Soundbars
Samsung Cameras/Camcorders
Samsung Smartphones
Samsung Computer monitors
Samsung Air Purifiers
Samsung Air Conditioners
Samsung Dishwashers
Samsung Smartwatches
Samsung Fridges & Freezers
Samsung Microwaves
Samsung Ovens & Cooktops
Samsung Washing Machines & Dryers
Samsung Vacuum Cleaners
Samsung Printers
Samsung Laptops
Samsung Storage Media
Samsung Tablets
Samsung Galaxy Buds True Wireless Earbuds
Harman