Apple has revealed what it is calling a “first-of-its-kind carbon removal initiative” as part of its efforts to tackle climate change and support sustainable forestry.
Apple’s announcement of the new initiative on Thursday is called the ‘Restore Fund’, and the aim of making investments in forestry projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere while generating a financial return for investors.
Apple’s $200 million fund has been launched with Conservation International and Goldman Sachs, aims to remove at least 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the amount of fuel used by over 200,000 passenger vehicles.
Apple says it hopes its ‘Restore Fund’ can also demonstrate a viable financial model that can help scale up investment in forest restoration.
“Nature provides some of the best tools to remove carbon from the atmosphere,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “Forests, wetlands, and grasslands draw carbon from the atmosphere and store it away permanently in their soils, roots, and branches.”
“Through creating a fund that generates both a financial return as well as real, and measurable carbon impacts, we aim to drive broader change in the future – encouraging investment in carbon removal around the globe,” said Jackson. “Our hope is that others share our goals and contribute their resources to support and protect critical ecosystems.”
This effort is part of Apple’s broader goal announced in July 2020 to become carbon neutral across its entire supply chain by 2030.
Apple was already carbon neutral for corporate emissions worldwide, but that July announcement detailed its plans to bring its entire carbon footprint to net zero 20 years sooner than IPCC targets.
Carbon neutral is adding no carbon emissions to the atmosphere.
Companies can do this by offsetting their emissions (planting trees or other projects that reduce emissions elsewhere in the world), or by balancing emissions (removing a unit of emissions for every unit of emission produced).
Or firms can not release greenhouse gases in the first place by switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power for example.
Apple’s plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030 is noteworthy, as this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact.
As part of its Restore Fund announcement, Apple said that it has partnered with Conservation International and Komaza, a sustainable “micro-forestry” company in Kenya, to support its positive impacts on carbon, biodiversity conservation, and socioeconomic development.
To ensure that the carbon stored in forests is being accurately quantified, and permanently locked out of the atmosphere, the Restore Fund will use international standards developed by recognized organisations such as Verra, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UN Climate Convention.
And it will prioritise investments in working forests that improve biodiversity through the creation of buffer zones and natural set-asides.
Apple said it already works with forestry conservation, because for the three years running, Apple has used 100 percent responsibly sourced fibres in its packaging and improved the management of more than 1 million acres of forests globally to date.
Apple said that it has also pioneered carbon projects with Conservation International that protect and restore grasslands, wetlands, and forests.
Apple’s customers can also take part in supporting these efforts. For each Apple Pay purchase from now through Earth Day, Apple will make a donation to Conservation International to support its efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
Earlier this month Apple detailed its progress to ensure its supply chain and products are carbon neutral by 2030.
Apple said that over 110 of its manufacturing partners around the world are moving to 100 percent renewable energy for their Apple production, with nearly 8 gigawatts of planned clean energy set to come online.
Apple also announced that it was investing directly in a major energy storage project in California to pilot new solutions for renewable infrastructure.
That was not the first solar project from Apple.
In 2012 it revealed that it was building a 20 MW solar array to power its massive data centre in North Carolina. That farm was built on 100 acres and supplies 42 million kWh of solar power per year.
In 2013 Apple announced a solar farm to power its data centre in Reno, Nevada. That 18 MegaWatt solar array powers its data centre there.
Other solar projects have followed over the years.
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