For the past three years, Ubisoft have been actively working to reduce its carbon footprint and mobilize its communities as part of its Play Green commitment. Here are the latest updates on Ubisoft's ongoing efforts to minimize emissions and contribute to a greener future.
Ubisoft's Emission Reduction Progress and Milestones
Ubisoft has committed to a decarbonization plan with specific emission reduction targets. In June 2022, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi)validated Ubisoft's carbon footprint reduction plan for 2030 that is in line with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C: to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 42% by 2030 from a 2020 base year, as well as ensure 67% of its suppliers by spend will have science-based targets by 2026.
Additionally, Ubisoft has set a first goal to decrease emissions by 8.8% per employee by the end of 2023, compared to the levels in 2019. And aims to continue making progress in the future.
In 2022, the total carbon footprint from Ubisoft's operations (including scopes 1, 2, and 3 upstream*) was just over 147 kilotons of CO2e, equivalent to 7.2 tCO2e per employee. This level is similar to what was achieved in 2021. For reference, in 2019, the carbon footprint was over 158 ktCO2e, representing 9.5 tCO2e per employee.
Compared to last year, Ubisoft was able to reduce emissions from its buildings due to the implementation of an energy-saving plan and an increased use of renewable energy sources: this year, 78% of the electricity Ubisoft's offices consumed came from renewable sources, compared with 67% in 2021. Although business travel increased compared to 2021, it remained significantly lower than in 2019 (a decrease of 86% in kilometers traveled per employee). Ubisoft has implemented a Green Travel Policy that aims to maintain this lower level of business travel, and ensure that all team members plan necessary trips with sustainability in mind, for example by taking the train when possible, or booking a hotel within walking distance of the event venue.
While Ubisoft saw a decrease in emissions from purchases and manufacturing due to the nature of its 2022 line-up, emissions from data centers increased, as the company's server park expanded and the need for data storage increased as well.
As part of Ubisoft's ongoing efforts to reduce emissions, collaborative initiatives are underway with the Procurement and Data Centers teams to reduce their environmental footprint.
Driving Sustainable Partnerships: Ubisoft's Green Procurement Policy
Ubisoft's Procurement team plays a pivotal role in driving the company's commitment to sustainability forward. They have implemented a Green Procurement Policy built on two key pillars: prioritizing green solutions and vendors, and fostering engagement with the company's existing suppliers. They have integrated environmental performance as a criterion when selecting new suppliers. By considering suppliers' environmental practices and track records, Ubisoft can ensure that partnerships align with the company's sustainability goals.
Additionally, the team has initiated annual discussions with these suppliers, aiming to define a collaborative, tailored continuous improvement plan. This enables Ubisoft to work closely with them to identify areas for enhancement and explore low-carbon alternatives together. By fostering these partnerships, Ubisoft strives to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices throughout its supply chain.
These efforts will contribute to enabling Ubisoft to achieve its Science-Based Target that 67% of its suppliers by spend, covering purchased goods and services, capital goods, and upstream transportation and distribution, will have science-based targets by 2026.
In 2022, the Smartdc data center in Rotterdam implemented a heat reuse system. Three heat pumps were installed in the building to use the heat generated by the servers to heat the nearby spaces of the Van Nelle plant, a UNESCO World Heritage Building. By reusing the energy generated by the data center, Smartdc helps the plant avoid the use of fossil fuels to heat the building during winter seasons, and associated scope 1 emissions.
Funding Global Projects to Support Sustainability
In addition to its decarbonization efforts, Ubisoft has been funding climate contributions since 2020. This involves providing support to projects that aim to prevent and capture greenhouse gas emissions outside of Ubisoft's value chain. To date, the funding has exceeded 400 ktCO2e. It is important to note that while this funding complements Ubisoft's overall strategy, it is not intended to replace its primary objectives of reducing emissions.
Over 1600 team members actively participated in a voting process to select one of the six projects that received funding for 2022. These projects are aligned with three key objectives: the protection of natural ecosystems, carbon capture initiatives, and promoting the transition towards low carbon solutions.
In total, these projects will help save 124ktCO2e.
Ubisoft has provided financial support to the following environmental projects:
- [Natural ecosystem protection]
o Biodiversity Reserve in Peru: a project that aims to protect and strengthen a biodiversity hotspot of the Peruvian Amazon, which provides a habitat for many rare or endangered species.
- [Carbon capture]
o Agroforestry in Punjab: promoting a sustainable approach to agroforestry, addressing the growing demand for tree-base products while protecting and rehabilitating entire ecosystems
- [Low carbon transition]
- Emissions saved in energy consumption: a French neobank rewarding customers for reducing their emissions.
- Wind Farm in Piedra Larga: supporting a Mexican wind farm to produce renewable energy.
- Wind farm in Guohua Rongchen: supporting a Chinese wind farm to produce renewable energy.
- Sustainable community in Canada: support a community in Quebec in their sustainability engagement and decarbonization projects.
Getting Team Members and Players Involved
Ubisoft believes that every team member has a crucial role to play in the group's collective efforts to meet its ambitious sustainability targets. That's why the company is committed to equipping all team members with the necessary tools and resources to make a difference at every level. For example, internal training, such as the Climate School, ensures that everyone has the knowledge and skills needed to take action. Additionally, Voluntary Green Committees, with over fifteen groups globally, champion sustainable practices and address environmental challenges, and the "Ubisoft Green Developers" community, with over 400 participants worldwide, explores the potential of videogames in shaping a greener future.
Ubisoft's teams also recognize the power of sharing knowledge and working together with other industry actors to have an even greater positive impact on the planet. In March, Art Director Arnaud Fayolle presented "The Developer's Field Guide for Climate Games" at GDC to empower professionals from across the industry to create games that foster climate action. You can watch the full presentation .
As a founding member of the Playing for the Planet Alliance, facilitated by the United Nations Environmental Programme, Ubisoft is not only committed to environmental initiatives but also actively collaborating with other major industry players. In 2022, 13 Ubisoft studios proudly participated in the Green Game Jam, a competition that challenges developers to create inspiring game mechanics that motivate players to take action for the planet. Two of the games received prestigious recognition for their contributions: "Riders Republic" was the "Media's Choice" winner, while "Brawlhalla" was recognized as the "Most Adoptable" game.
What's more, Ubisoft is continuing to raise players' awareness and encourage them to act through its games. From the first in-game Climate March as part of Riders Republic Rebirth to protecting baby sharks in Hungry Shark World, Ubisoft games found fun and creative ways to educate players about topics like deforestation and biodiversity while mobilizing them to get involved in climate action. Funds raised through green activations in games including Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Rainbow Six Siege have resulted in the planting of more than 1.5 million trees, showing how in-game action can translate into real-world impact.
The Way Forward
What's next for Play Green? As Ubisoft continues its efforts to contribute to global carbon neutrality, it is exploring even more opportunities to collaborate across the industry to reduce carbon emissions throughout the video game lifecycle and maximize positive impact. In March 2023, Microsoft announced its partnership with Ubisoft and other video game industry actors to work on new tools and techniques to help all developers reduce the power consumption, and associated emissions, of their games without impacting the player's experience. These measurement tools allow developers to consider features that can reduce power consumption during active game use, such as thermal load, frame rate, pixelation, latency, the size of assets they need to download or how often software updates are released. The results of these experiments can simultaneously reduce console power consumption, carbon emissions, and home electricity costs for players.
From initiatives like this to in-game green events, Ubisoft is continuing to level up its Play Green strategy to achieve its decarbonization objectives and mobilize players for the planet. To find out more, visit https://www.ubisoft.com/en-us/company/social-impact/environment
*Note: Scopes 1, 2, and 3 refer to different categories of emissions sources, where scope 1 includes direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, scope 2 includes indirect emissions from purchased electricity, heat, or steam, and scope 3 includes other indirect emissions from activities such as business travel and supply chain.
Ubisoft's annual report will be published in July. The link to access it will be provided here.