You know how your New Year’s resolutions are basically shot by January 15th? Apple can’t relate. In July of 2020, the tech giant committed to becoming carbon neutral across its entire business by 2030. Now you’re probably thinking, haven’t I already heard about how they’re carbon neutral? It’s possible! But not quite at this scale. Right now, Apple is carbon neutral with its global corporate operations, but this new pledge will see every apple device have a net-zero climate impact. That’s a big deal.
In 2019 alone, Apple had a 35% drop in absolute carbon dioxide emissions since its highest in 2015, with a cut of 4.3 million metric tons. It sounds like a big number, but it still produced 25.1 million metric tons. According to The Verge, this is the same as six coal-fired power plants operating for a year. Not great.
“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. “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.”
So how does Apple plan on becoming carbon neutral? They laid out a 10-year plan with their intentions. Here are some of the bullet points:
- They’ll start with low carbon product design, using more recycled materials and finding innovative ways to recycle their products.
- They’ll invest $100 million in accelerated energy efficiency projects for Apple’s suppliers
- They’ll remain at 100% renewable energy for its operations, “focusing on creating new projects and moving its entire supply chain to clean power.”
- They’ll make technological improvements to processes and materials as a way to reduce emissions, including the introduction of the first-ever direct carbon-free aluminum smelting process.
- They’ll invest in forests and other nature-based solutions to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
“We’re proud of our environmental journey and the ambitious roadmap we have set for the future,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “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.”
Apple committing to be carbon neutral is a pretty big move for the tech industry. Microsoft and Amazon have made similar pledges, and it’s no doubt that other companies will follow. A study conducted by the Harvard Business school saw that 85% of people are more likely to recommend a company with strong purpose to others. And that’s a stat companies would do well to remember.