‘Q CELLS’ Eco-friendly Guidebook,’
from A to Z in an Eco-friendly daily life
Nov, 2021

What would it be like if, one day, there were no French fries with your hamburger set meal? If we couldn’t taste French fries, a fast-food staple, we would miss them a lot. In recent times, concerns such as this are regarded as a problem that can actually happen. McDonald's reported that it had some setbacks in potato production due to climate change brought about by global warming. As temperatures and the amount of rainfall changes, many areas where crops can be grown are disappearing. It said that the recent especially hot and dry weather is affecting the growth of potatoes. Due to this, Russet Burbank potatoes mainly used for McDonald’s French fries were hit hard by climate change.  

Example such as this demonstrate how climate change is having a significant impact on the human food chain. The World Food Program forecasts that the globe’s starving population would increase by about 200 million if the average global temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius. In particular, there is a concern that the low-income class relying on farming and fishing for a living will be hit the hardest. Food is the most basic element in human life. If we are to confront the unprecedented climate disaster that will have a fatal impact on the survival of mankind, we need a scenario to respond to the climate crisis.

Hence, from the aspect of the global village, we are pushing ahead with a plan for carbon neutrality (net-zero) in which net emissions to the atmosphere are deflated to ‘0,’ eliminating greenhouse gas created due to human activities, by 2050. To achieve the target of carbon neutrality, we need to pursue energy transformation based on non-fossil fuel worldwide. Everyone has to do their part to reduce carbon emissions. Recently, individuals as well as governments and companies have begun engaging in various activities to put reductions into practice.

Shall we look into how all members of society can change the global environment in daily life together through a guidebook prepared by Q CELLS? 

 Are we climate villains?  How much carbon footprints are we leaving behind on Earth? 

A Carbon Footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gas generated throughout the entire ecosystem where individuals, companies, or countries produce or consume products, just like actual footprints that we leave behind. The more people move or increase their activity, the more footprints they leave behind due to the greater the amount of greenhouse gas emitted. According to data from Nature, a UK academic journal, and the International Energy Agency (IEA), carbon footprints left behind every year by consuming fossil fuel and from plastic wastes reach an astounding 34.8 billion tons. 

The joint efforts of many countries are essential to preventing the worsening health of Earth. Nevertheless, there are so-called climate villains interfering with attempts to tackle the climate crisis. One media source has mentioned Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, and Korea as climate villains. 

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil-producing country and the symbolic country for fossil energy, recently promised to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and is exerting efforts to reduce the carbon footprints it has created up to now. Its capital, Riyadh, began planting 450 million trees, and is planning to conduct a project for replacing at least 30% of combustion engine cars with electric cars by 2030. Since Saudi Arabia, which had taken a negative stance on supporting cutting fossil fuel investment for a long time, said it will reduce carbon emissions, we could well see it as a significant step. 

 24-Hour carbon footprint left by salaried worker Mr. Kim Tae-yang  

Then, how are we damaging the health of Earth in our everyday life? What is the carbon footprint generated by a single person in one day?  We took a look at the carbon footprint generated by tracking 24 hours in the life of Mr. Kim Tae-yang, an ordinary office worker. His daily routine of commuting to work by bus, having a morning coffee, and eating dinner look like the routine of any ordinary person. However, Mr. Kim Tae-yang’s minor habits in ordinary everyday life create 38.925 kg of carbon footprints, which would require 7.78 pine trees to offset. 

Likewise, to reduce the carbon footprint generated by one person in a day, researchers around the world analyzed 7,000 studies globally and announced 10 ways an individual can effectively reduce their carbon footprint. The first and most effective way is ‘a life without cars.’ If we live a life without a car, we can reduce carbon dioxide emission by an annual average of 2.04 ton per person. The next best method is to drive an electric car, which people say reduces carbon dioxide by around 1.95 tons. In addition, if we forego just one long-distance flight, we can reduce around 1.68 tons of carbon dioxide. In fact, in April last year when the number of flights suddenly dropped as COVID-19 spread around the world, global carbon emissions dropped by at least 27%. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, transportation means account for about 23% of carbon emissions worldwide. If an individual’s effort is added to an individual thinking about the environment even when moving short distances, we can effect significant change.

As mentioned earlier, global carbon emissions temporarily decreased due to COVID-19, but even now, we have a long way to go when we think about the health of Earth worsening every day. In addition to ways of reducing carbon suggested by international researchers, if we put in a bit of effort in various areas, we can protect the health of the Earth. 

Due to fashion changing every season, 10 million pieces of clothing accumulate in landfills each year. Every time the life of clothing is extended by one year, it can reduce the carbon footprint by 25%. Especially, jackets, one-piece dresses, and jeans produce 4 to 5 times the carbon of T-shirts with equal weight. If we buy used products instead of new clothes, we can greatly reduce our carbon footprint. 

Carbon dioxide emitted to grow 1 kg of beef is 36.4 kg. In addition, the methane gas a cow emits while digesting food has a greenhouse effect that is over 30 times that of carbon dioxide. Another good way to lower one’s carbon footprint is to consume a vegetarian diet.

 ‘Carbon Account Book,’ a low carbon-consumption standard 

There is a way to effectively reduce carbon in everyday life activities, which emits an enormous amount of greenhouse gas every day. It is keeping a ‘Carbon Account Book.’ Through this, just like keeping a household account book to spend and save money efficiently, we can reduce carbon emissions by replacing money with carbon. For example, just as we use money optimally by carefully comparing goods when buying something, an account book is a way to make wise decisions to reduce carbon emissions. Professor Lee Wu-gyun, Chairman of the Institute for Climate Change Action, during an interview, said, “It is important to connect the issue of climate change with real-life. Walking is better for my health than taking public transportation, and is also good for environment.” If each person among a population of 50 million people reduces 1 ton of greenhouse gas with this method, we can save a total of 107.3 billion kW of electricity. 

 Q CELLS and Hanwha Group taking steps closer to becoming eco-friendly  

Q CELLS’ sincerity to become a genuine eco-friendly company was evident in its RE100 declaration made last February. RE100, a global energy conversion campaign, refers to the goal of converting 100% of electric power used by a company in manufacturing and carrying out businesses to renewable energy. Q CELLS declared RE100 for the first time in the Korean renewable energy industry presenting a new paradigm in corporate ESG management.  

The downtown area where a tremendous amount of resources is consumed is also considered the major site of numerous causes of environmental pollution. The Hanwha Group building in Seoul was reborn as an eco-friendly company building by actively utilizing Q CELLS’ PV technology. By introducing BIVP technology, which uses building-integrated solar modules as exterior building materials, it is drawing attention as an example of a sustainable building. In fact, it can independently produce approximately 3% of building power consumption in spring and fall, and about 1% in summer and winter. 

Recently, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy implemented the ‘PV module carbon certification system,’ which quantifies and verifies the total amount of greenhouse gas per carbon dioxide (1kW) emitted during the entire process of solar module production. Through this system, with 10% of greenhouse gas emissions reduce solar module installed in the country, it is estimated that 230,000 tons of CO₂, equivalent to planting about 200 pine trees, can be reduced each year. 

Despite the certification system being very complicated, Q CELLS’ Q.PEAK DUO module acquired Grade 1 certification for the first time in the industry in only two months after the certification system was enforced. In addition, Q CELLS earned a carbon footprint (CFP) certification in France for the first time among Korean companies. Q CELLS has been leading the way as a total energy solution company in the area of eco-friendliness.

Hanwha Group continues to engage in its ‘Solar Forest’ activities, cultivating eco-friendly forests around the world in efforts to counter environmental issues, such as fine dust and desertification, since 2011. Sometimes, a contradictory situation occurs where fossil fuel is used to grow saplings for forming a forest. Hanwha Group’s ‘Solar Forest’ campaign is unique and authentic from the aspect of forming a ‘carbonless forest’ by growing saplings using electricity produced without carbon emissions through photovoltaic power generation facilities.

Hanwha Group carried out the ‘Carbon footprint eraser project’ in which one eco-friendly technology that can reduce the carbon footprint is introduced every week through SNS channels. It introduced eco-friendly tips that can be practiced by anybody in everyday life, such as ‘turning down indoor heating,’ ‘separating recyclables from wastes,’ and ‘using a lunch box,’ inducing participation in reducing carbon footprints.

Like a mirror, environmental pollution allows us to look back at what mankind has done, because everybody’s action is directly reflected on Earth. Therefore, we all must agree to make a difference. Of course, the carbon footprint reduced by one person alone cannot prevent the huge climate crisis. However, if every individual, company, and governments take action to make a difference, wouldn’t we be able to restore a bit of the health of an Earth suffering from severe body aches? You have been holding back on practicing eco-friendliness. Put it into action today!  

#Energy story
#Carbon footprint
#Carbon Account Book
#Hanwha Group
Related articles
more +