Apple announced its commitment to be 100% carbon neutral for products and supply chain by 2030 early last week. This announcement brings net zero plans 20 years ahead of schedule based on IPCC targets.
The plans for carbon neutrality will span the entire business, from manufacturing, supply chain and product life cycle, meaning every Apple device sold will have no environmental impact as of 2030.
“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.
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.”
An inspiration for other companies
With the intention to provide details of its carbon neutrality plan, Apple will be supporting other companies in the industry on its path towards sustainable operations.
Apple’s 2020 Environmental Progress Report that was also released last week, details an intended 75 percent emissions reduction by 2030, in addition to the development of innovative carbon removal solutions for the remaining 25 percent of its footprint.
Not only this, but to support efforts further, the tech giant is 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”. According to the press release, this is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
“We’re proud of our environmental journey and the ambitious roadmap we have set for the future,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.
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.”
Apple’s Climate Roadmap
The company’s 10-year plan plans to lower emissions by introducing:
Low carbon product design:
Apple 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. This will include:
- Recycling innovation using a disassembly robot named “Dave” which recovers key materials;
- The company’s Material Recovery Lab in Austin, Texas, which is now partnering with Carnegie Mellon University, will develop further engineering solutions;
- All iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices released in the past year are made with recycled content.
Expanding energy efficiency:
Apple will identify new ways to lower energy use at its corporate facilities and help its supply chain make the same transition.
- Apple will partner with the US-China Green Fund investing $100m in energy efficiency projects for its suppliers;
- Continue its Supplier Energy Efficiency Program;
- Maintain commitments such as the energy efficiency upgrades Apple invested in last year which lowered electricity needs by one-fifth.
Apple will remain at 100 percent renewable energy for its operations — focusing on creating new projects and moving its entire supply chain to clean power.
- This will be done through commitments from over 70 suppliers to use 100 percent renewable energy for Apple production;
- Apple creates over 1GW of renewables a year meaning 80 percent of its renewable energy use is from its own projects;
- The company is also set to launch one of the largest solar arrays in Scandinavia.
Process and material innovations:
Apple will tackle emissions through technological improvements to processes and materials needed for its products.
Apple is investing in forests and other nature-based solutions around the world to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
- Last week Apple announced its carbon solutions fund to invest in the restoration and protection of forests and natural ecosystems globally;
- Alongside Conservation International, the company will invest in new projects, building on learnings from existing work like restoring degraded savannas in Kenya and a vital mangrove ecosystem in Colombia.