Apple is embarking on the ambitious goal of making its entire business carbon neutral by 2030. Announcing the effort on Tuesday, the company said that its global corporate operations are already carbon neutral. The new effort will see its product life cycle and supply chain also become carbon neutral, meaning that every Apple product sold will have a net-zero impact on climate change.
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Adopted by an increasing number of organizations worldwide, carbon neutrality means that any carbon emissions created by a manufacturer or other entity is balanced out by an equivalent amount of carbon removal or savings. The effort is designed to try to reduce the level of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere, a process that had led to climate change due to rising temperatures.
Beyond helping the Earth’s environment, carbon neutrality can help organizations cut costs through the use of recycled materials and other measures.
“Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said 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.”
Apple’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 75% while at the same time creating carbon removal solutions for the remaining 25% of its overall footprint. To achieve this objective within the next 10 years, the company has outlined several steps in its strategy.
Apple plans to continue to increase its use of low-carbon and recycled materials in its products. As one example, the company employs a robot named Dave that disassembles the Taptic Engine from iPhones to recover critical materials such as rare earth magnets and tungsten. All iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches released over the past year are made with recycled elements, including the rare earth elements in the iPhone’s Taptic Engine.
By using recycled materials, Apple said it’s been able lower its carbon footprint by 4.3 million metric tons in 2019. Over the past 11 years, the company said it cut the average energy needed for product use by 73%.
To bring its supply chain to a carbon-neutral status, Apple has kicked off certain investments, both from itself and from other organizations. Through a partnership with Apple, the US-China Green Fund will invest $100 million in accelerated energy efficiency projects for Apple suppliers. The number of facilities now taking part in Apple’s Supplier Energy Efficiency Program grew to 92 in 2019, helping to reduce more than 779,000 annualized metric tons of supply chain carbon emissions. Further, more than 70 Apple suppliers have promised to use 100% renewable energy for production.
Apple is also helping two of its aluminum suppliers develop the first direct carbon-free aluminum smelting process. The first batch of this low-carbon aluminum is being produced for use in the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Other tech companies are trying to play a role in combating climate change. Microsoft recently unveiled a plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. And by 2050, the company is looking to remove all the carbon that has been emitted by its business since its founding in 1975. In February, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the Bezos Earth Fund, through which he has pledged $10 billion to fund scientists, activists, and non-governmental organizations working to fight climate change.