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‘The planet can’t wait,’ says Tim Cook as Apple goes carbon neutral

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In a major announcement made as the company publishes its latest Environmental Responsibility report, Apple has committed to becoming completely carbon neutral across its business, products and manufacturing supply chain by 2030.

‘The planet can’t wait’

Apple has made huge strides in this direction: its global corporate operations are already carbon neutral, and while it is sometimes criticized for “greenwashing,” most environmental groups think Apple is taking a positive approach.

One illustration of how Apple is pivoting its business to help nurture a more environmentally friendly approach is in the company’s decision to ensure its operating systems support a wide number of older iPhones, meaning you don’t need a new smartphone every year to enjoy the latest features.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a Tweet announcing the news:

“By 2030, Apple’s entire business will be carbon neutral — from supply chain to the power you use in every device we make. The planet we share can’t wait, and we want to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”

Putting money where the PR is

Apple actively works with governments, businesses, NGOs, and consumers around the world to encourage policies that strengthen environmental protections and push the transition to clean energy. It sees these moves as essential steps in global climate action.

It is also investing in a range of initiatives, from energy supply to process innovation to manufacturing chain, as detailed below.

The company is now attempting to restructure its product design, its own business and its supply chain so that by 2030 every Apple device sold will have what’s called “net zero climate impact.”

(There’s an interesting account of the work that went into developing the concept of “net zero” here.)

‘A ripple in the pond’

In a statement announcing Apple’s plan, Cook said:

“Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share.”

“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.”

Highlights from the Environmental Report

Available now, Apple’s 2020 Environmental Progress Report provided much additional detail on its approach to carbon neutrality. Among other things, it shows that efficient product design and the use of recycled components helped Apple decrease its carbon footprint by 4.3 million metric tons in 2019.

The company has also worked to make its products less demanding of energy – the average energy needed for product use has been reduced by 73% across the last 11 years, Apple said.

Apple’s Impact Accelerator scheme is focused on investing in minority-owned businesses that work to improve its supply chain and life for communities impacted by environmental hazard.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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