Apple vows to be carbon neutral by 2030, supply chain included

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Apple has announced its plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business by 2030. With this commitment, Apple said every device it sells will have “zero climate impact” in 10 years. 

The Cupertino tech giant is extending its climate pledge to include its supply chain, meaning the company will only work with suppliers that reach carbon neutrality by its 2030 timeline. 

Apple said it’s 10-year roadmap is based on a series of innovations across product design, supplier operations and materials processing. In its 2020 Environmental Progress Report released today, Apple said it intends to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 while developing new carbon removal techniques for the remaining 25% of its footprint.

One of the primary ways Apple reduces the climate impact of its devices is through recycling. The company said its latest recycling innovation is a robot called “Dave” that disassembles iPhones to collect rare earth materials. Apple said “Dave” is the next step following its line of “Daisy” iPhone disassembly bots.

Meanwhile, Apple’s latest supply chain efforts include a new partnership with the US-China Green Fund and a $100 million investment in ramp up energy efficiency projects for Apple’s suppliers. The company said it now has commitments from over 70 suppliers to use 100% renewable energy for the production of Apple device components.

To improve materials processing, Apple said it’s currently supporting the development of the first-of-its-kind direct carbon-free aluminum smelting process with two of its aluminum suppliers. The advanced production method releases oxygen, rather than greenhouse gases, during the smelting process. The first batch of this low-carbon aluminum is being used to produce the new 16-inch MacBook Pro.

“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,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a statement. “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.” 

Several other major tech companies have also adopted sustainability goals. Last month Amazon launched a $2 billion fund to develop technologies that will cut down greenhouse gases. The e-commerce giant is trying to clean up its supply chain as well. 

Microsoft in January detailed its plan to be carbon negative by 2030, with a goal to have removed from the environment all the carbon that has been emitted by its business by 2050. To curb its emissions, Microsoft has had an internal “carbon tax” in place since 2012 that puts the onus on individual business divisions to cut their own carbon footprint.

Salesforce is also committed to reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2022 and delivering a carbon-neutral cloud to all customers.
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