How Apple is about to reach “zero climate impact” by 2030.
“We’re carbon neutral. And by 2030, every product you love will be too.” This is how Apple announced the corporation’s goals to reach net carbon neutrality for all of its supply chain and products in less than a decade. Apple’s own operations have been carbon neutral since last year.
Carbon neutrality means that a company aims to add no carbon to the atmosphere. This can be effectively achieved by balancing emissions (if a company produces any carbon, it should remove a tonne of it from the atmosphere for every tonne it has produced), by not releasing greenhouse gases in the first place (the most logical approach), or, alternately, by investing in projects that reduce emissions elsewhere in the world.
Over the past 11 years, Apple has reduced the average energy needed for product use by 73 percent. Finally, the largest corporations respond not only to shareholders but also to the global climate crisis and the concerns of their own employees and customers.
As I mentioned before, Microsoft aims to become carbon-negative (reducing more carbon from the environment that they emit) by 2030 and, also, to remove all of the carbon from the environment they emitted since 1975. Amazon, Google, Nike, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, and dozens of other giant corporations (and polluters) have set targets to go carbon neutral. Making this a reality means totally changing the rules of doing business.
Apple’s 10-year climate roadmap, which eventually will lead to every Apple device sold having net zero climate impact, includes:
LOW CARBON PRODUCT DESIGN. Apple will increase the use of low carbon and recycled materials in its products. This goal will be achieved with help from Apple’s new robots called Daisy and Dave – once Daisy removes the engine, Dave can start disassembling the engine itself and removing the rare-earth elements so that they can be reprocessed and put back into supply chains. All iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices released in 2020 were made with recycled content.
EXPANDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Apple will find new ways to lower energy use in both its supply chain and corporate facilities. In 2019, the corporation invested in energy efficiency upgrades to more than 6 million square feet of buildings and, thereby, lowering electricity needs by nearly one-fifth. More and more supply chain facilities have been joining Apple’s Supplier Energy Efficiency Program – avoiding around 779,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. Recently, the US-China Green Fund promised to add $100 million in accelerated energy efficiency projects for Apple’s suppliers to curb the climate crisis.
RENEWABLE ENERGY. While Apple uses 100 percent renewable energy for its operations, it will move its entire supply chain to green power, too. Apple’s energy projects in Arizona, Oregon, and Illinois provide Apple with so much renewable capacity for its corporate operations that the amount can be compared to powering over 150,000 homes a year. The greatest thing about Apple-created renewable energy projects is that most of them benefit other communities and businesses. For example, Apple is launching one of the largest new solar arrays in Scandinavia, installing rooftop solar panels at a facility for disadvantaged children in the Philippines and electrifying an off-grid fishing community in Thailand.
CARBON REMOVAL. Apple is investing in environmental projects and nature-based solutions around the world to remove carbon from the atmosphere. This April, the company announced a first-of-its-kind carbon removal initiative, called the Restore Fund, aiming to remove 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere (equivalent to the amount of fuel used by over 200,000 passenger vehicles). Apple and its partners will invest in projects helping to restore degraded savannas in Kenya and a vital mangrove ecosystem in Colombia. Partnering with The Conservation Fund, the World Wildlife Fund, and Conservation International, Apple has already protected and improved the management of over 1 million acres of forests and natural climate solutions in China, the United States, Colombia, and Kenya.
Apple’s reputation when it comes to social justice is not so great – all the allegations about mistreated and underpaid factory workers have done their job. Perhaps, a gathering cultural change is fueled by the societal pressure constantly put on a corporation regarding its input on this planet.
Although the net revenue has been increasing, Apple has seen consistent reductions in its carbon footprint. If Apple uses 100 per cent renewable energy producing their products in the future, it will successfully avoid more than 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. According to Apple, this number is equivalent to taking more than 3.4 million cars off the road each year.