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Apple pledges carbon neutrality across entire business by 2030

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Apple pledges carbon neutrality across entire business by 2030

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By Nick Finegold - 27 July 2020 / 07H15 - Updated 27 July 2020

Apple has pledged to expand its current carbon neutrality beyond its global corporate operations to the entire business, including the manufacturing supply chain, by 2030. The pledge covers all Apple products, as well as the energy used to manufacture and charge them.

The tech firm, valued at more than $1T, plans to reduce emissions by 75% and to create novel “carbon removal solutions” to offset the remaining 25%. This includes partnering with Conservation International to launch a fund to invest in restoration and protection projects.

Why does this matter? Apple isn’t technology’s only major firm recently revealing ambitious plans to reduce its environmental impact. Amazon has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040, whereas Microsoft has not only committed to being carbon negative by 2030 but to remove all its historical carbon emissions by 2050.

In addition to renewable energy efforts, which are adopted by most Big Tech firms through measures such as power purchase agreements (PPA), Apple is utilising both engineering and nature-based solutions to reach its target.

The company sold over one billion iPhones between 2007 and 2017. The effectiveness of its Daisy disassembly robot to recover materials from 15 models at a rate of 200 devices per hour should have a significant impact on the company’s e-waste as the global amount continues to rise. Criticism, however, has previously been levelled at the development of certain Apple products such as AirPods for their difficulty to recycle.

Additionally, the company has outlined detailed nature-based solutions including the restoration and protection of mangroves that it says will be able to store one million tonnes of CO2 over the course of the project.

Arguably, one of the most contrasting elements of Apple’s announcement vis-a-vis its competitors is its commitment to completely address emissions in its supply chain. Microsoft, for example, only aims to cut supply chain carbon emissions in half by 2030. Apple, however, has already convinced suppliers such as Foxconn and TSMC to develop products using renewable energy.

Other suppliers working with Apple, or perhaps any Big Tech firm, should maybe consider this announcement as being put on notice.

Lateral thought from Curation – It’s interesting to note Apple also intends to be accountable for the energy required to charge its devices.

Given the firm has also faced pressure in the past over consumers being “addicted” to its smartphones, could it potentially try to kill two birds with one stone here? Offering customers increased guidance on how to cut down on usage will mean devices won’t have to be charged as often while helping customers reduce screen time.

Nick Finegold is the Founder & CEO, Curation an emerging and peripheral risks monitoring service.

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Nick Finegold

27 July 2020 / 07H15
Updated 27 July 2020
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