Within Spotify’s HR Blog which addresses new ways of increasing sustainability in 2021, it is mentioned that the corporation has sought to influence positive change by releasing some original podcasts such as ‘How to Save a Planet’, where climate topics are covered. This is very performative in its approach to the report and is undoubted greenwashing because the podcasts are unlikely to make a considerable impact on the issues. Therefore, overall, I think that Spotify is certainly acknowledging its position and responsibility to address climate issues as a corporation, but it could do better to lead the way in reducing GHG emissions across the supply chain. Most notably, it should acknowledge downfalls with the Paris Agreement and strive to create meaningful reductions in their emissions.
Spotify is an audio streaming subscription service with over 155 million subscribers as of 2020. It exists to connect creators with fans and empower creators to live off their art by providing monetization tools to help creators boost revenue and reach more fans, whilst listeners are given a simple yet personalized realm to explore music. Podcast growth also proliferated in 2020; 80% of the 2.2 million podcasts on Spotify were uploaded in 2020. Streaming music online also reduces the number of physical CDs purchased, which reduced GHG emissions from manufacturing and distribution.
57000 artists now represent 90% of monthly streams on the platform… that number has quadruples in just 6 years, meaning that listeners are engaging with an increasingly diverse set of artists. Spotify paid royalties to rights holders of more than 5 billion euros for the year ending 31st December 2020. In terms of environmental sustainability, Spotify acknowledge their responsibility to address emissions that are a direct consequence of their business, and aim to have an approach based in science and will set reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, to ultimately achieve net zero emissions. For Spotify, this mainly exists in collaborating with suppliers, peers and partners to drive change and learn from each other. Based on Spotify’s analysis, their total value chain GHG emissions decreased by 26% from 2019 to 2020 due to less spending and consumption. However, it is worth mentioning that this could have a lot to do with the coronavirus pandemic. Regardless, Spotify’s offices run on 100% renewable electricity and they are integrating energy efficiency measures when designing and operating offices. Additionally, Spotify know that the long-term solution to making real reduction in their impact to the environment exists in making cuts to GHG emissions across the supply chain. Carbon offset projects related to renewable electricity, biomass and sustainable cookstoves have been supported, however the scale and reach of these approaches are unclear.
According to the 2020 Spotify Sustainability Report, the service is committed to providing a platform that is inclusive and accessible to everyone, as well as one that places emphasis on user’s privacy and security and empowers them to exercise their privacy rights. As a business, they also acknowledge their status as a multi-million-dollar corporation and have led some philanthropic efforts, demonstrated in their response to COVID19 with donations made to CDC Foundation Emergency Response Fund and the COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO. Moreover, the support of employees was paramount to Spotify throughout the pandemic, such that good mental health and work from home were facilitated. Spotify mirrors this culture in their Heart and Soul Initiative, which aims to spread awareness and acceptance for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and addiction.