Gaming companies commit to decarbonise and reach 110 million with green activations

Playing for the Planet Alliance releases 2020 annual impact report
By UNEP Newsdesk
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Some of the biggest names in mobile gaming today – with a combined active user base of The Playing for the Planet Alliance will be releasing the results of its first Annual Impact Report on 27 January 2021. The report showcases the commitment of some 19 companies that founded the UN Environment Programme-facilitated initiative, including Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, and Google Stadia in September 2019, and sets out the initiative’s plans for the coming year.

Some of the key achievements of the Alliance in 2020 were:

  • The 2020 Green Game Jam reached 110 million people through activations placed in games made by 11 major studios including titles such as Angry Birds and Subway Surfers;
  • Two-thirds of the companies have committed to reduce their carbon footprint with a new calculator for the industry to be created in 2021;
  • An additional 8 major companies joined the Alliance including Unity and MAG Interactive taking it to a total of 29 video gaming companies with a combined reach of well over 1.2 billion monthly active users with more studios set to join in 2021.

Sam Barratt, Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy at UNEP and Co-Founder of the Alliance said: “This industry has the potential to reach one in three people on the planet and will be a critical partner if we are to win the greatest multiplayer challenge of our time: climate change. We’re delighted to see the progress the Alliance has made so far and know that this is just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

19 companies reported their progress with the following work being undertaken in 2020:

Activations through play:

  • Rovio reached 4.1 million players through restoration and sustainability themed in-game events in Angry Birds/2;
  • Wildworks: launched restoration & renewable energy features in-game engaging over 6.6 million players and drove reforestation with over 16k trees planted in Zambia.;
  • Internet of Elephants launched “Run Wild 2020” to engage urban runners with animals in the wild;
  • Pixelberry launched an interactive book to get players to get more involved with environmental activism in their game Choices;
  • Green Man Gaming will run a major tree planting programme;
  • Playmob reached more than 10 million people who took action to vote on climate action.
  • Through the Jam, Creative Mobile raised funds for Wolf Conservation Trust and Reliance ran multiple awareness messages across their games.


Carbon and energy:

  • Sony was able to create energy efficiencies that meant PS5 uses less energy in certain modes than PS4 did at launch in addition to a range of other commitments;
  • Microsoft will deliver on the company-wide goal of being carbon neutral by 2030;
  • Supercell: became carbon neutral, offset 200% of their direct carbon footprint and 100% of carbon emissions generated by players;
  • Niantic are developing plans for net zero in 2021;
  • Space Ape: Not only did Space Ape co-ran the Green Game Jam 2020, they also offset 200% of their studio’s carbon footprint, as well as the footprint generated by playing their games.
  • Sports Interactive: reduced twenty-five tonnes of CO2 equivalent alongside 13 tonnes of plastic with new packaging for Football Manager 2020.
  • Sybo: co-ran the Green Game Jam 2020 and offset more than double their office carbon footprint.
  • Strangeloop: will go carbon neutral by 2022.
  • Ubisoft: will accelerate their progress toward net zero.

Research and insight:

  • Google Stadia are producing a sustainable game development guide and working on a study on the science of inspiring behavioural change through video games.

In 2021 the Alliance will focus on priorities including:

  • Integrating authentic green activations in games: building on the success of the 2020 Green Game Jam, the aim this year is to reach 1 billion monthly active users with environmental messaging and a focus on restoration as the core theme. The Jam will be launched in March.
  • Restoration and Decarbonisation: to support companies to decarbonise and to support action around the theme of restoration and conservation of forests, with the aim of reaching 1 billion gamers and securing 10 million actions on this agenda. The industry also plans to host a summit on this agenda at COP26 in Glasgow.

With the support of GRID-Arendal and Playmob, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) facilitated the launch of the Alliance in September 2019.