Playing for the Planet: Annual report shows games studios getting serious on climate
More than 32 games studios have joined Video Games Europe in becoming members of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) -facilitated Playing for the Planet Alliance, over one million trees have been planted and 130 million players engaged 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. It is also designed as an accountability mechanism on transparency and progress; members who are not meeting their commitments are removed from the Alliance.
Key findings include that in 2021 The Green Game Jam tripled in size, with 30 studios joining, leading to 266,000 trees being planted and $800,000 being raised in support of UNREDD and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. In the process, 130 million players were reached, with 80% responding positively to themes of ocean and forest conservation.
Meanwhile, 60% of Playing for the Planet members 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.”Sam Barratt, Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy at UNEP commented
Outside of 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.
Finally, the report outlines the direction the Alliance plans to take in 2022, which will see a new secretariat to host the imitative and a new White Paper outlining guidance for the industry on how to reduce their emissions. Details were also given about the Green Game Jam in 2022. Themed 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 week.