Apple unveiled this week its plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030. The company is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold should have net-zero climate impact. It also announced a new recycling robot, one that will extract rare-earth metals from one of the most fragile systems in the iPhone.
With this new pledge, Apple is following the announcements of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, all of which have introduced revised climate-related goals within the past year. Apple is providing detail on its approach to carbon neutrality with a roadmap for other companies, as industries look to reduce their impact on climate change. In its 2020 Environmental Progress Report, Apple details its plans to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 while developing innovative carbon removal solutions for the remaining 25 percent of its comprehensive footprint.
“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.”
As reported by Wired magazine, it remains to be seen how much of Cupertino’s plan will be workable by 2030, and how much of it will be viewed in the future as a savvy public relations stunt. The public commitments made by Apple and other companies sometimes read like a jumble of climate-related buzzwords, difficult to decipher without knowing exactly how these companies plan to neutralize or reduce the usage of dirty energy in their manufacturing or shipping processes.
Hover this is an initiative in the right direction, considering how many millions of products Apple produces each year and that the overwhelming majority of the carbon emissions tied to the company come from its suppliers and manufacturers in China. With this new pledge, Apple says 75 percent of its efforts are focused on areas like renewable energy and manufacturing efficiencies, while 25 percent of its efforts are being dedicated to carbon removal through partnerships with forest conservation groups.