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Apple intends to become carbon neutral entirely by 2030

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Apple has unveiled its intentions to become carbon neutral in its entire business, manufacturing supply chain and the life cycle of its products by 2030.

For its global corporate activities, the business is already carbon neutral and this recent pledge ensures that by 2030 each Apple product sold will have net zero climate effects.

“Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share. 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.”

Tim Cook, CEO Apple.

Apple outlines its efforts to reduce emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 in its 2020 Environmental Progress Report while pursuing novel carbon removal strategies for the remaining 25 percent of its total footprint.

Over 80 percent of the renewable energy that Apple sources comes from projects that Apple created. Image: Apple

Apple is setting up an Impact Accelerator to promote these activities and beyond, which will concentrate on investing in minority-owned companies that achieve positive results in its supply chain and in neighborhoods that are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards.

This program is part of the $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative recently announced by Apple, focused on programs to improve education, economic equity, and reform of criminal justice.

“We’re proud of our environmental journey and the ambitious roadmap we have set for the future. 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.”

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.

Apple’s 10-year roadmap will lower emissions with a series of innovative actions, including:

Low carbon product design: Apple will continue to expand the use of low-carbon and recycled materials in its products, invest in the recycling of goods and develop products to be as energy efficient as possible.

  • Apple’s newest breakthrough in recycling — a robot that the company calls “Dave”— disassembles the iPhone Taptic Engine to help recover key materials such as rare earth magnets and tungsten while also allowing steel recovery, the next move along its “Daisy” iPhone disassembly robots line.
  • The company’s Material Recovery Lab in Austin , Texas is also working with Carnegie Mellon University to further develop engineering approaches, focusing on advanced electronics recycling technologies.
  • All iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch products launched in the past year are made from recycled material, including 100 percent recycled rare earth materials in the iPhone Taptic Engine.
  • Apple lowered its carbon footprint by 4.3 million metric tons in 2019 by advances in material design and recycling in its products. Apple has lowered the average energy available for product usage by 73 percent over the past 11 years.

Expanding energy efficiency: Apple will find new ways to reduce energy usage at its corporate facilities and help make the same transition in its supply chain.

  • The US-China Green Fund will spend $100 million in accelerated energy-efficiency initiatives for Apple’s suppliers via a new agreement with Apple.
  • The number of facilities involved in the Supplier Energy Efficiency Program at Apple rose to 92 in 2019; these facilities saved more than 779,000 annualized metric tons of carbon emissions from the supply chain.
  • Last year, Apple 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.
Through a first-of-its-kind investment fund, Apple and 10 of its suppliers in China are investing nearly $300 million to develop projects totaling 1 gigawatt of renewable energy. Image: Apple

Renewable energy: For its operations, Apple will stay at 100 % renewable energy – focusing on launching new ventures and switching the entire supply chain to clean electricity.

  • Apple now has commitments from more than 70 manufacturers to use 100 percent renewable energy for Apple production — equivalent to almost 8 gigawatts of commitments to power its product manufacturing. After these commitments have been completed, they will eliminate more than 14.3 million metric tons of CO2e annually — the equivalent of taking more than 3 million vehicles off the road per year.
  • New and completed projects in Arizona, Oregon and Illinois raise Apple’s renewable capacity to more than 1 GW for its corporate operations — equivalent to powering over 150,000 homes a year. More than 80 percent of Apple’s renewable energy sources for its facilities now come from programs generated by Apple, helping communities and other businesses.
  • Globally, Apple is unveiling one of Scandinavia’s largest new solar panels, and two additional ventures to deliver electricity to underserved communities in the Philippines and Thailand.
Since 2014, all of Apple’s data centers have been powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Image: Apple

Process and material innovations: Apple can tackle pollution by developing processes and materials needed for its goods by technological changes.

  • Via investments and cooperation with two of its aluminum suppliers, Apple supports the production of the first-ever direct carbon-free smelting process.
  • The company revealed that the first batch of this low carbon aluminum is currently being used in development for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
  • Apple has cut emissions from fluorinated gases by more than 242,000 metric tons in 2019 through collaborations with its suppliers. Fluorinated gases are used in the production of certain parts of consumer electronics and can lead to global warming.
Apple supported the development of an aluminum production method that releases oxygen, rather than greenhouse gases, during the smelting process. Image: Apple

Carbon removal: Apple is investing in forests and other nature-based solutions around the world to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

  • Apple revealed a carbon reduction fund to invest internationally in restoring and preserve forests and natural habitats.
  • The organization will invest in new projects in collaboration with Conservation International, building on learning from successful work such as restoring endangered savannas in Kenya and a vitally significant mangrove ecosystem in Colombia. Not only do mangroves protect the coasts and help sustain the livelihood of those communities where they grow, they can also store up to 10 times more carbon than forests on land.
  • The organization has preserved and enhanced management of over 1 million acres of forests and natural environment solutions in China, the US, Colombia, and Kenya through its work with The Conservation Fund, the World Wildlife Fund, and Conservation International.
Nedim Husomanovic

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