Playing for the Planet: Annual report shows games studios getting serious on climate
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Playing for the Planet: Annual report shows games studios getting serious on climate

  • One million trees planted since the launch of the UNEP-facilitated Alliance
  • Alliance members made 50 new environmental commitments in 2021
  • Seven new studios and seven trade bodies joined the Alliance in 2021

Nairobi, 10 February 2022 – More than 32 games studios have now joined the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-facilitated Playing for the Planet Alliance, planting over one million trees and engaging 130 million gamers on themes relating to the environment, according to the Alliance’s just-released Annual Impact Report. The report showcases the progress the industry has made on decarbonisation and green activations* in games, and where it may go next.

According to the report, in 2021, The Green Game Jam – which brings together the biggest names in video games across PC, mobile and console to educate and empower millions of players to act for nature – tripled in size, with 30 studios joining, leading to 266,000 trees being planted, $800,000 being raised and engaging some 130 million players on ocean and forest issues in support of UNREDD and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, with 80% of them responding positively to these themes.

In addition, 60 per cent of Playing for the Planet members have committed to be net zero/carbon negative by 2030 with further work on targets set for 2022; seven new studios joined in 2021, taking the Alliance to 32 members with a combined gamer base of well over 1 billion, and a new Young Green Game Jam was launched with the support of TiMi studios, supported by students from over 300 Universities.

“The video gaming industry is a new ally in the race for a net-zero and nature-positive planet. The work that the Playing for the Planet Alliance undertook in 2021 is impressive and shows what is possible when the tools of collaboration replace the mindset of competition. While a lot remains to be done, the initiative has come a long way in just two years” said Sam Barratt, Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy at UNEP.

In addition to the progress inside the Alliance, the work has inspired major labels in the music industry to launch its own Music Climate Pact in December 2021 and also saw new baseline data on the power consumption of amount of energy that mobile devices use in game play, updating numbers from 10 years ago so that studios can more accurately calculate their carbon footprint.

The report also outlines the direction the Alliance plans to take in 2022, which will see a new White Paper outlining guidance for the industry on how to reduce their emissions. The theme for the Green Game Jam in 2022 will be on Forests, Food, and the Future; the jam aims to surpass the number of previous participants and increase the reach and impact of the initiative – already, over 36 studios have signed up, with more set to join in the coming weeks. A new secretariat will also be created to host the initiative.

The Annual Impact Report is primarily designed as an accountability mechanism on transparency and progress; members who are not meeting their commitments are removed from the Alliance.

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