Apple and 10 of its suppliers in China are investing nearly $300 million to develop projects totaling 1 gigawatt of renewable energy. Photo courtesy of Apple
The computer and phone giant Apple pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030, following the lead of other tech companies dedicated to mitigating their impact on the climate crisis. Apple’s commitment extends to its massive supply chain, which supplies computers, tablets and iPhones to customers around the world.
Apple, which has already achieved carbon neutrality for its corporate operations, said the new commitment means that every iPhone, MacBook and iPad sold will have no climate impact, as The Washington Post reported.
The company has several strategies for achieving its goal to wipe out its carbon footprint in the next decade. It will shift towards a low-carbon product design and use recycled materials as much as possible. It will develop new techniques in manufacturing, like a carbon-free aluminum smelting process, as The Guardian reported.
Apple will also ramp up its use of renewable energy for projects funded by and built for Apple. The company will also remove carbon from the atmosphere through reforestation projects in Colombia, China, Kenya and the U.S., according to The Guardian.
That means Apple plans to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 while developing innovative carbon removal solutions for the remaining 25 percent of its comprehensive footprint, according to a press release.
“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.”
In addition to the announcement about its plan to be carbon neutral in a decade, the company released its 2020 Environmental Progress Report on Tuesday. Apple said it slashed its carbon dioxide emissions by 4.3 million metric tons in 2019. That represents a 35 percent drop in absolute carbon dioxide emissions since the company’s peak in 2015. It has achieved the reduction while still selling more products, as The Verge reported. Apple has been able to cut back on its greenhouse gas emissions by using recycled materials and improving the energy efficiency of its products. Its products use 73 percent less energy on average now than they did 11 years ago.
“This is a moment not to move away from the great challenge of climate change,” Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, told CNN Business. “We wanted to step up and show we should all move even faster if we can because the situation is urgent and continuing to be more urgent.”
However, as CNN noted, the company has not actually shared that data with scientists for independent verification. And, as The Verge pointed out, Apple is still an energy behemoth. It did emit 25.1 million metric tons of carbon in 2019, the equivalent to running six coal-fired power for the entire year.
The commitment did win praise from environmentalists. It marks a “significant step up from what we’ve seen from Apple in the past,” said Elizabeth Jardim, senior corporate campaigner for Greenpeace USA, as The Washington Post reported. Cutting carbon emissions will “help prevent further catastrophic climate change — the impacts of which will fall most on Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities,” she said.
“The world’s largest and most profitable companies must act swiftly to minimize their reliance on fossil fuels throughout their operations by 2030 at the latest,” Jardim said.
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