Recently, Angry Birds 2 held an in-game event to raise awareness for climate change and reforestation. For a limited time, players were able to collect a new Forester hat set and adorn their flock of characters in some rugged new duds (pictured above). In addition, a community event allowed players to band together and show their support by popping as many pigs as possible. The events directed players to the United Nations Trillion Tree Campaign, an initiative to plant (you guessed it) one trillion trees by the end of the decade.
The events in Angry Birds 2 were borne out of a Green Mobile Game Jam held earlier this year. The jam brought together 11 mobile game companies who worked together to find new ways to introduce climate change awareness initiatives into their games. We decided on the theme of reforestation for Angry Birds 2, not only because it’s an extremely important issue, but also because of how it fits naturally within the theme of the Angry Birds world.
The Playing for the Planet initiative is part of a push by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to work with game developers to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues. And so far, the work of the initiative — consisting of over 20 gaming companies, including Rovio — has reached almost 1 billion players worldwide.
But you may now be wondering, what else is a company like Rovio doing when it comes to taking action against climate change?
Taking real world action
When joining Playing for the Planet as one of its founding members in 2019, our Technology team set themselves an ambitious task – to calculate the CO2 emissions generated by the mobile devices on which our games are played. As this number crunching centers around emissions generated through charging these devices, we had to make a few assumptions. First, we assumed that each daily active player fully charges one mobile device (from 0% battery to 100% battery), once per day – regardless of how much of that battery is used playing Rovio games. To ensure we didn’t under-calculate the final number, we worked on the basis that every one of our players owns a top-end Android or iOS device with a high capacity battery. With that in mind, we used the information known to us about the battery and energy consumption of those devices to arrive at the final figure.
There were also several more considerations to factor in, such as the average energy wastage when devices are charged, plus the relevant electricity grid on which to base the entire calculation. For the latter, we went with the U.S. electricity grid. Although, of course we’re lucky to have fans playing our games all over the world, from Austria to Antarctica!
In September 2019 we arrived at a figure for the total carbon impact of player devices for the previous 12 months, and we were then able to offset these emissions through the United Nations carbon offset platform, ensuring that we’re compensating through certified programs. We plan to continue calculating the carbon impact of players’ charging their devices on a yearly basis, with the 2020 calculation coming to 18,256 tons.
In summary, Rovio takes a two pronged approach to sticking it to climate change. First, raising awareness for important environmental issues through initiatives like the Playing for the Planet Alliance, and second, by taking into account the impact our business has on the planet and taking direct action. With that in mind, we will continue to review our processes and find new ways to use our voice for good.
See Rovio CEO, Kati Levoranta’s presentation on Rovio’s environmental actions from Gamescom Congress 2020 here.