Logitech knows brands need to accelerate climate action. That’s why they’re scaling second-life plastic.
April 29, 2023 | By Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter
Welcome to The Sprout, a series that explores the ways businesses are working toward a more-sustainable future.
Robert O’Mahony grew up in a rural part of Ireland, where he developed a deep connection to the outdoors and the natural world. “I understood the implications of humans taking that for granted,” he says. “I wanted to make a career out of that in some way.”
At the same time, he had an interest in technology and innovation. So he wanted to find a job where he could combine those two passions. In 2003, with a background in biochemistry and microbiology, he joined Logitech around the time when electronics companies were getting serious about developing ways to make their products more sustainable. Throughout the past two decades, O’Mahony has worked as the head of sustainability global operations at Logitech, where he has forged a path to reduce negative environmental impacts resulting from their operations. Acknowledging a sense of urgency, Logitech has recently accelerated their climate strategy and committed to being climate positive by 2030, meaning they will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they put in. They have also achieved carbon neutrality throughout the entire value chain across their full product portfolio and operations.
“We’ve really formalized and evolved our commitment to the environment over the past 20 years,” O’Mahony says. “It’s the reason why I’m still here: I’ve seen how I can make a difference at this company. I’ve always sensed that Logitech will put its values to work and manifest some progress from those values.”
Through that commitment, Logitech has continued to innovate product design with sustainability in mind and elevated transparency with their consumers through advertising and messaging.
Robert O’Mahony is the head of sustainability global operations at Logitech, where he has forged a path to reduce negative environmental impacts resulting from their operations.
Rethinking plastics—and more—in consumer electronics
About 12 years ago, O’Mahony visited a recycling plant in Austria to observe a new process to take post-consumer recycled plastic and reprocess it to a grade that was as functional as virgin material.
“I remember going with a couple of the reverse logistics team members, and we were intrigued by what was going on,” O’Mahony says. “We did some work and brought a proposal to leadership around how we could manifest change in the resins that we used. There was a capability that needed to be built. That was a seed of something amazing. And that today is our Next Life Plastics program, which represents about 50 million products shipped in the last year that use second-life [or recycled plastic] materials.”
Now, 1 in 3 Logitech products are made with second-life materials—a figure that continues to increase. Along with the Next Life Plastics program, Logitech remains focused on designing out carbon with recycled or more efficient materials in products and packaging. The brand also has a Carbon Clarity program through which they commit to carbon labeling on all of their products in order to be held accountable and provide transparency for consumers who make purchase decisions. As part of this, Logitech uses their Store on Amazon and their Amazon Ads campaigns, and has their entire portfolio of products included in the Climate Pledge Friendly program, which highlights products with sustainability certifications, to engage consumers with this environmental messaging across the purchase journey. The Climate Pledge Friendly program on Amazon recognizes products with improvements in at least one aspect of sustainability. Logitech’s products are Carbon Neutral Certified by SCS Global Services, meaning the product’s carbon emissions have been measured and reduced, with any remaining emissions offset.
“Our intent is to do the right thing because we care. We work with Amazon Ads to bring that information to the consumer,” O’Mahony says. “We think about how we can mitigate or eliminate negative impact and accentuate positive impact when we design our products beyond consumer experience, beyond availability, and so on.”
Connecting with customers on a climate emergency
In March 2023, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a new report with a warning that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 2.7° Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels sometime in the first half of the 2030s. According to the research, backed by hundreds of scientists, humanity will face catastrophic consequences if the planet warms beyond this threshold. However, the report says there is a chance to limit warming below this threshold if industrial nations work to cut greenhouse gasses in half by 2030 and stop adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere entirely by the 2050s.
“We know what’s ahead of us if we act as business as usual,” O’Mahony says. “Companies that not just acknowledge that, but actually do something about it and take action, will be in a much more advantageous position in the future.”
Given the seriousness of the situation, more consumers are making sustainability a priority when it comes to their buying decisions.
According to a recent survey from Amazon Ads and Environics Research, 62% of consumers are actively seeking out brands that are sustainable in their business practices. Additionally, 73% of consumers say they are tired of brands acting like they are exempt from environmental responsibility. And 62% of consumers say that sustainability has become more important to them over the past three years.
“This is moving toward the mainstream where you have more consumers paying attention to the eco-conscious message,” O’Mahony says. “We also have adult Gen Z who are absolutely engaged. We’ve had feedback from adult Gen Z consumers who say, ‘It’s my right to know about climate-friendly products.’ The initiatives that Amazon is driving help consumers make more responsible choices.”
The same Amazon Ads and Environics Research survey showed that 72% of consumers are likely to carry out their own research for sustainable options. Among these consumers exploring more-sustainable products, 33% indicated third-party certification was among their most reliable sources of information.
To inform consumers about these more-sustainable products, Logitech is building sustainability messaging into their Amazon Ads campaigns and labeling these products with CPF badges in their brand Store and product pages. “The ad solutions help us reach and engage with our customers (who are both already in a sustainability mindset as well those being educated about sustainability) as we broaden our sustainability story across different channels,” O’Mahony says. “We believe that carbon is the new calorie, and consumers have the right to know what their consumption is. And we do have data points that indicate the message is landing.”
Now, Logitech is beginning to look at an expansion of what designing for sustainability looks like—in terms of product durability, repairability, and modular design. With this approach, they could extend the lifetime of their products through upgrades and repairs, making it so—for example—hardware would be replaced less often, and thus reduce replacement purchases.
“Logitech is an innovative company, and we pride ourselves on our design progress,” O’Mahony says. “Imagine products with modular design where your latest gaming mouse can be upgraded for the latest sensor for faster movement. The consumer purchases the engine, and the body evolves over time. There’s a lot that needs to evolve, but it shows the potentiality of smart design.”
Want to know more about Earth Day marketing?
First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is an annual event marking the birth of the environmental movement. Today, it is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide as a day to inspire global, national, and local policy changes to take action in the fight against climate change.
Earth Day takes place annually on April 22. This specific day was chosen by its founders because it falls between spring break and final exams, with the hopes to maximize student participation.
The late Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator from Wisconsin, first proposed the idea of an “environmental teach-in” on April 22, 1970, as a way to inspire student action and education about environmental issues. Over the past 50 years, the event has spread worldwide and expanded to focus on the urgency of addressing climate change.
Earth Day is celebrated in more than 190 countries across the world and mobilizes 1 billion people annually.1
Because more consumers today are actively seeking out brands that are sustainable in their business practices, many brands advertise more-sustainable products year-round. Leading up to Earth Day throughout the month of April, many brands time big sustainability-focused campaigns to the event. These campaigns typically start in March and run through Earth Month in April.
If you’re interested in advertising your Climate Pledge Friendly products, reach out to your Amazon Ads account executive.
1 EarthDay.org, 2023