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Apple commits to 100% carbon neutrality by 2030

Published July 29, 2020

Apple commits to 100% carbon neutrality by 2030

Apple is planning to bring its supply chain and products to net zero carbon by 2030, the company announced recently. This plan is to encompass the entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle. Apple’s goal is to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and develop solutions for carbon removal of the remaining 25%.

The tech giant is already carbon neutral for corporate emissions worldwide, and the company is also creating a roadmap for other business by providing details on its approach to carbon neutrality.

The 10-year roadmap shall focus on:

  • Low-carbon product design
  • Expanding energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
  • Process and material innovations
  • Carbon removal

“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,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

Alongside the announcement, Apple released its 2020 Environmental Progress report the same day, which outlines some of the ways in which it will bolster the commitment.

One of the ways Apple is supporting its efforts is thought an Impact Accelerator that will “focus on investing in minority-owned businesses that drive positive outcomes in its supply chain and in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards.”

In 2019, the company had decreased its carbon footprint by 4.3 metric tons, and all iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices that were released in the past year have been made with recycled content. It is also to launch one of the largest new solar arrays in Scandinavia to help power its activities, as well as other renewable projects.

Following in the footsteps of other major tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, who have set their own targets, Apple’s commitment is still being approached warily by climate advocates and the like.

Greenpeace USA’s senior corporate campaigner, Elizabeth Jardim, in a conversation with the BBC, said that they were happy to see some of the efforts Apple is taking towards its goal but would like to see more near-term solutions for phasing out fossil fuel reliance. While, on the other hand, Simon Nicholson, co-director for the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University, in a statement for the New York Times commented on the lack of a long-term vision when it comes to carbon removal (where Apple is investing in forest and other nature-based solutions), saying that “Holding carbon in forests for a year or two isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be held in forests for the long term, which means centuries.”

The Verge, a subsidiary of Vox Media, reported that although Apple reduced CO2 emissions by 35% from 2015, “it still pumped out a lot of carbon dioxide in 2019 — 25.1 million metric tons, equivalent to six coal-fired power plants chugging along for a year.”

Nathan Proctor, director of the Right to Repair campaign at the non-profit U.S. PIRG, praised the company’s climate-friendly, adaptable model for The Washington Post, but continues to take umbrage with Apple’s unwillingness to budge on its stance on the “right to repair”, which is a movement that empowers consumers to repair and reuse hardware—something which Apple has not made easy and is even designing products that don’t allow for it.

Nevertheless, it is promising to see a major player such as Apple taking further steps to battle the climate emergency, and hopefully it will address some of these criticisms on the road to carbon neutrality.