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Apple Commits to 100% Carbon Neutrality

Aug. 3, 2020
The electronics manufacturer announces new efforts to help preserve the environment and support a diverse, inclusive world.

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Apple just unveiled a new plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain and product life cycle by 2030. Already carbon neutral in its global corporate operations, the company’s new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact.

“Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “The innovations powering our environmental journey are not only good for the planet — they’ve helped us make our products more energy efficient and bring new sources of clean energy online around the world.”

Climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”

Creating a Roadmap for Others to Follow

Apple’s plan includes reducing emissions by 75% by 2030 while also developing carbon-removal solutions for the remaining 25% of its comprehensive footprint. According to the press release, more than 80% of the renewable energy that Apple sources comes from projects that the company created itself.

As industries look to reduce their own impact on climate change, Apple will give other companies a roadmap that they can follow to enact their own initiatives. Apple’s 10-year roadmap includes these carbon neutral-focused actions: 

Low carbon product design. The company will continue to increase the use of low carbon and recycled materials in its products, innovate in product recycling and design products to be as energy efficient as possible. For example, it’s latest recycling innovation is a robot the company is calling “Dave.” Dave disassembles the Taptic Engine from iPhones to better recover key materials such as rare earth magnets and tungsten while also enabling recovery of steel.

Expanding energy efficiency. The company is identifying new ways to lower energy use at its corporate facilities and help its supply chain make the same transition. Through a new partnership with Apple, for instance, the U.S.-China Green Fund will invest $100 million in accelerated energy efficiency projects for Apple’s suppliers. In 2019, the consumer electronics manufacturer invested in energy efficiency upgrades to over 6.4 million square feet of new and existing buildings, lowering electricity needs by nearly one-fifth and saving the company $27 million.

More renewable energy. Apple is using 100% renewable energy for its operations — focusing on creating new projects and moving its entire supply chain to clean power. It also has commitments from more than 70 suppliers to use 100% renewable energy for Apple production (equivalent to about 8 gigawatts in commitments to power the manufacturing of its products). “Once completed, these commitments will avoid over 14.3 million metric tons of CO2e annually,” the company states, “or the equivalent of taking more than 3 million cars off the road each year.”

A Commitment to Diversity

Apple is also establishing an “Impact Accelerator” that will focus on investing in minority-owned businesses that drive positive outcomes in its supply chain and in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards. This is part of Apple’s recently announced $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which focuses on efforts that address education, economic equality and criminal justice reform.

“We’re proud of our environmental journey and the ambitious roadmap we have set for the future,” Apple’s Lisa Jackson said in the release. “Systemic racism and climate change are not separate issues, and they will not abide separate solutions. We have a generational opportunity to help build a greener and more just economy, one where we develop whole new industries in the pursuit of giving the next generation a planet worth calling home.”

About the Author

Bridget McCrea | Contributing Writer | Supply Chain Connect

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who covers business and technology for various publications.

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