Playing for Planet Alliance members hit 636 m, plant 2.5 m trees

Playing for Planet Alliance members hit 636 m, plant 2.5 m trees
بقلم Marwa Nassar - -

The Playing for the Planet Alliance – whose members hit about 636 million players – planted 2.5 million trees in a short two- to three-week window.

Last week, the alliance released its 2022 annual report, which found that its members reached some 636 million players.

Sam Barratt, the Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s Ecosystems Division, said that there was a 10 percent uptick in knowledge around environmental themes through games. That’s important. The more people know about climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, the more likely they are to press politicians and companies to meaningfully address these threats. They’re also more likely to make Earth-friendly decisions in their own lives.

So far, 64 percent of alliance members have committed to getting to net zero. This is a good start but there is a long way to go, he said, noting that the alliance helps software developers to roll into games messages and missions about climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Barratt said video games are important for two reasons. First, their reach – 3.1 billion people and counting. Second, their immersive stories and communal nature bring together players in a way that music and film simply can’t match.

It’s through these stories that there is a chance to educate this massive audience on environmental themes. Crises, like climate change, are quickly shifting from the future to the present. Speed is everything when it comes to sounding the alarm – and video games are an ideal platform for reaching lots of people very rapidly, he added.

He noted that a survey of 380,000 gamers ran last year showed that gamers care about the environment and that they would like to see green activations in games, if they are authentic to the games.

“A survey we ran last month showed major players are joining up to learn from others, work with each other and crack tough-nut problems, such as untangling the emission-ownership knot. The culture in the alliance is all about shifting from competition to collaboration. The initiative works on identifying common challenges and coming up with common solutions,” he highlighted.

“Gaming can be greener for sure. Working with the industry to shift packaging processes, create greater efficiency in play and securing commitments to net zero carbon emissions will help. The role of UNEP is to facilitate this leadership and, so far, 64 per cent of alliance members have committed to getting to net zero. This is a good start but there is a long way to go,” he noted.

He concluded “I have three hopes. One, for sustainability to be the default in the sector. Thinking green needs to become normal for everyone, not something that someone in HR does part-time. Two, I’d like the industry to be a pathfinder that others in the tech sector can learn from. Three, I hope the industry keeps learning and testing new strategies so that the power of gamers is harnessed for the good of the planet.”

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