Acer is on a mission to reduce its carbon footprint. The company upped its eco-game by joining the RE100 initiative, a collective of over 300 leading businesses trying to minimise the impact they're making on the world. With it, came Acer's announcement that it would share in the pledge to reach 100% renewable energy usage by 2035.
How appropriate too that Acer—a company sharing its name with a kind of tree—promised that for every Acer Aspire Vero laptop sold, 100 trees would be planted. What they didn't specify is that this part of the mission would be achieved by roping tech journalists like me into doing the backbreaking work for them.
As part of it's "Earthion" sustainability mission, the company has partnered with Ecologi, which works with charities like Protect Earth to get those trees planted. And Acer ropes tech writers like me into doing its eco-bidding.
Just this week, I waltzed down to a muddy Cotswold farm with a gaggle of tech writers, volunteers, and Ecologi warriors, to get some trees into the ground on Acer's behalf. And to confirm for ourselves that the company is keeping its promise of a more verdant, carbon-neutral future.
By the time we were done, around 750 saplings stood majestically, wrapped up in biodegradable tree guards, and tucked in with little hemp blankies to help retain water and stop big, bad weeds from engulfing their delicate baby trunks.
We managed all this just in time for the land owner's daughter's wedding, too. And what a fabulous brag it'll be for them, when their family gathers in the bottom field bell tent, surrounded by pedigree sheep and fresh saplings.
More importantly, within 50 years the trees we planted alone will have sequestered 250 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. And while that sounds like a miniscule amount compared to the 87.8 million tons being dumped into the atmosphere on the daily, at least there are companies out there like Acer, and Razer with its Sneki Snek campaign, trying to make a dent in the damage the tech industry has contributed to.
If you are a PC gamer who's feeling a little green, but isn't on the market for a recycled, non-gaming laptop from Acer, why not plant a tree instead?
If you've not got the time, but can spare the price of a coffee per week, you can sign up to support Ecologi's tree planting projects. Or for fellow, UK based techno-hippies hankering for a more practical approach, why not drag your nerdy friends to some Protect Earth events like the one Acer talked me into? Land owners are also more than welcome to get in touch, I've been told by Phil Sturgeon, the founder of the initiative.
He helps keep the Protect Earth charity ticking with his passion for well-managed hedgerows. As an ex-software engineer turned eco-nomad, he understands the fascination we all share with tech, but fell into reforestry when he realised that, while he was busy hashing out lines of code, the earth was becoming "progressively more fucked."
Phil's invested his nest egg into the charity, and the passion he exerts daily—along with the effort Acer is making in the name of the planet—has thrown me into a mini eco panic. At the end of the day, planting a few trees really is the least we can do for refusing to turn our PCs off at night; who knows, you might even enjoy it.
I know I did.
While the eco-promises of the Vero laptops won't be coming to the likes of the best Acer laptops made for gaming just yet, pledges like Acer's allude to a larger movement taking shape across the tech industry. Companies are starting to take heed, and temper their impact, so maybe we can feel a little less guilty about the power hungry tech we're all consuming.