Sonos commits to sustainability action plan

Sonos has introduced its Climate Action Plan as the foundation of its commitment to a more sustainable future, working towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2040.

Full details of its plan were announced during Sonos’ 2021 Listen Better Report, offering an annual overview of the company’s ESG efforts.

“With our Climate Action Plan, we’re entering a new phase in our commitment to environmental responsibility, stepping up our efforts across the board to reduce our impact,” said Patrick Spence, Sonos CEO. “Sonos is a company founded on innovation; we are invigorated by the challenge to innovate and create better solutions for our customers and for the planet.”

Product Sustainability Programme

Spence came under fire at the beginning of 2020 when he announced a new upcycling scheme that would see legacy Sonos products being made unusable. The scheme was scrapped when it caused backlash as it was seen to be creating and encouraging more e-waste with devices made completely inoperable preventing them from being refurbished, resold or reused. 

Sonos has now announced that it strives to keep its products in use for a long time and continues to support every speaker it has released as part of its new Product Sustainability Programme. In FY21, the company began a new Design for Disassembly process, which will be incorporated into all new speakers and components, starting FY23. This approach builds in features, such as fasteners instead of adhesives, that make it easier to repair, refurbish and recycle.

This new approach to product sustainability comes with an immediate goal of improving energy efficiency, given that more than three quarters of Sonos’ carbon emissions can be attributed to the energy consumed during each product’s lifecycle.

The Product Sustainability Programme is designed to drive down the carbon footprint and overall environmental impact of its products. The company unveiled short- and long-term targets across energy efficiency, materials, product longevity and packaging, and this year, will conduct its first product environmental lifecycle assessment.

Product energy use is the most significant contributor to Sonos’ carbon footprint. The company is committed to improving the energy efficiency of its product portfolio, with a focus on idle and sleep states. Sonos introduced sleep mode with Roam, helping make it Sonos’ most energy efficient speaker, and by FY23, all new Sonos products will include sleep mode. The company aspires to reduce idle power consumption to less than 2W for its entire portfolio, starting with all portable products in FY22.

Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Sonos is working towards a circular future where its products can be recycled to make new Sonos products. By the end of FY23, 100% of new Sonos products will begin using post-consumer recycled plastic in place of virgin plastics and will also be 100% halogen free.

A comprehensive approach to product circularity must include packaging. This year, Sonos undertook a major packaging design update using FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, proprietary Sonos Custom Kraft paper. This paper was first used for Roam and will continue to be used for new products launching between FY22 and FY25. By FY25, Sonos packaging will be made with 100% responsibly sourced paper, including paper that is either post-consumer recycled, FSC-certified or made from plant-based fibres as it aims to eliminate plastics from its packaging entirely.

Climate Action Plan

Sonos’ Climate Action Plan was built from a partnership with VitalMetrics, who mapped the carbon footprint of the company’s value chain, from sourcing materials and packaging to product use and end of life. The environmental baseline report led to the Climate Action Plan being made to guide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s areas of greatest impact – products, supply chain and distribution – as well as direct operations.

Focusing primarily on product and operational carbon reductions, supported by high-quality and verified offsets, Sonos is committed to meeting its goals through natural strategies including habitat regeneration and conservation. As a result, Sonos has partnered with SeaTrees by Sustainable Surf for the next year to help offset Sonos’ direct emissions with a marine ecosystem project in the Southern Cardamom Watershed in Cambodia.

The company is also joining forces with organisations using sound to improve the environment and funding cutting-edge bioacoustic research. Sonos has also joined Music Declares Emergency to support the wider music industry in reducing its environmental impact.

As part of its sustainability commitment, the company has also announced it is joining the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility in global supply chains, and will commit to progressively align its own operations with social, environmental and ethical industry standards outlined in the RBA Code of Conduct.

Sonos will spend the next year formalising its environmental goals and refining the company’s approach to the supply chain and distribution focus areas of its Climate Action Plan. This includes working with major suppliers to improve their respective climate footprints and exploring the localisation of repairs and refurbishments where possible.

Image: Sonos

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