- Apple has committed to becoming carbon neutral across its business, manufacturing supply chain (including its supply base) and product life cycle by 2030, according to an announcement Tuesday. The company's corporate operations are already carbon neutral after achieving its 100% renewable energy goal in 2018.
- The company plans to invest in renewable energy projects for its suppliers, emissions reduction technologies, product redesigns and recycling techniques, sustainable sourcing practices, and carbon removal projects, according to the road map it released.
- Over the past 11 years, Apple has reduced its carbon footprint by 73% using many of the aforementioned tactics and working with major suppliers and final assembly centers in Asia to increase recycling and reduce waste-to-landfill, according to the release. Extending its latest roadmap to its entire supply chain has "helped us make our products more energy efficient and bring new sources of clean energy online around the world," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement, noting the potential for green investments to spur "job creation, and durable economic growth" across the broader business community.
Apple's roadmap is designed to achieve carbon neutrality in line with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) targets to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The push is part of a broader effort across private sector firms to extend sustainability and emissions reduction efforts beyond corporate operations and across their supply chains and product life cycles as scientific and public pressure mounts.
The company's 2030 plan revolves around five key areas: low-carbon product design, increased energy efficiency, renewable energy, process and material innovations, and carbon removal.
Low-carbon design techniques are meant to ensure products are produced and run with greater energy efficiency, and are more easily recyclable for reuse in production. This includes additional process and material innovations, such as investing in the development of direct carbon-free aluminum smelting and the use of recycled tin, copper, and cobalt for use in its Macbooks and other devices.
Expanding energy efficiency across supplier facilities will include work with the U.S.-China Green Fund, which is investing $100 million in "accelerated energy efficiency projects." As of 2019, 92 of Apple's vendors are participating in its Supplier Energy Efficiency Program. In addition, the company has worked to upgrade existing buildings to increase their efficiency, resulting in energy savings of $27 million, according to the release.
According to its 2019 CDP disclosure, which the organization gave an "A'"rating, Apple's manufacturing base accounted for 74% of its total emissions in 2018. Since 2015, the company has been conducting energy use audits across its suppliers and operates a SupplierCare portal, providing updated energy market and regulatory information for key manufacturing countries. It "is designed specifically to assist suppliers in identifying and executing the most viable renewable energy solutions available," according to the CDP report.
Along with efficiency efforts, the company is establishing renewable energy generation projects for itself and its suppliers. Currently, 80% "of the renewable energy that Apple sources for its facilities are now from Apple-created projects," according to the company's report. These include wind, solar and hydroelectric power generating facilities.
Apple is offsetting any remaining emissions (it estimates 25%) through carbon removal projects, including direct support for reforestation and ecosystem restoration efforts in China, Colombia, Kenya and the U.S.
Once these interventions are in place, "every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact," according to the release.