Dr Carla Brown, the founder and CEO of Game Doctor, the company behind Remedy Quest, the mobile game which teaches players about the principles and benefits of vaccination, recently attended the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Dr Brown kindly agreed to write about her experience at the summit and how the games industry – in Scotland and beyond – can respond to not only lessen its impact, but enable positive change.
2020 drove life to online environments; countless business meetings over Zoom resulting in drastically reduced air-miles and instead of going out, we stayed in and streamed our favourite movies, shows and games.
Whilst it seemed that Covid-19 had a relatively positive impact on climate change, it has not fixed the looming threat of flooding, mass migration and failing ecosystems. With an estimated 10 years before catastrophic consequences take effect, the world is pressed for time to make effective change and we must assess the ways we can all play our part.
The games industry is often overlooked in climate change discourse. Very rarely do we, as a society, associate gaming with the world’s climate crisis however the recent COP26 British Chamber of Commerce event highlighted the part gaming plays. Attending the event left participants feeling educated and empowered to change the future and we wanted to share our learnings.
Gaming and Climate Change
It is no secret that the gaming industry is on an upward trajectory powered by online and mobile gaming. A market research study conducted by Limelight Networks found that the average gamer spends roughly eight hours a week gaming and the demand for faster downloads and performance increases each year.
As the gaming industry continues to grow digitally, the concept of downloading large scale updates and content becomes readily normalised. Perhaps the inability to physically see the transfer of data to immense data centres has led to a lack of awareness of the scale of power and energy needed to operate such tasks.
An article by Eurogamer describes how the climate impact of gaming’s internet usage relies on several factors such as the efficiency of data center infrastructures that dictate the consumption of energy to operate, the infrastructure’s power source and the levels of carbon emissions produced as well as the growing consumer demand for gaming services.
According to EPA, carbon emissions are responsible for 80% of all greenhouse gasses; mainly traced back to businesses. Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) categorises greenhouse gas emissions into three scopes:
- Scope 1 refers to the emissions businesses make directly through factors such as the running of transportation or heating
- Scope 2 categorises the emissions businesses produce indirectly through the generation of purchased energy.
- Scope 3 is the largest and most complicated category of emissions. It refers to the indirect responsibility of emissions businesses have across the value chain. For instance, the emissions that customers produce through consumption of products or services.
What Can Businesses Do?
Businesses must address all three scopes. Just as businesses are becoming more eco-aware, so are consumers; ultimately increasing the demand for transparency within a product’s journey.
The concept of sustainability has shifted from good corporate social responsibility to an imperative for businesses. Analysing and tracking emissions is a tricky yet vital task for businesses that require expert attention. To ensure businesses undergo such procedures, it is crucial to implement green audits similar to existing processes such as compliance and quality management system (QMS).
Whilst many businesses continue to operate remotely or within a work-from-home (WFH) environment, there are still strategies these businesses can implement to reduce carbon footprint.
- work with green suppliers
- evaluate materials and equipment used within production
- educate both customers and suppliers in a collaborative effort
As a small-medium enterprise (SME) Game Doctor has a massive responsibility and role to play in reducing carbon emissions, directly or indirectly through our supply chain. It is time to take action. We are energised and inspired to create change and work with fellow businesses to create a more sustainable and green gaming industry.