Apple Pledges To Be Carbon Neutral By 2030

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Green pledge sees Apple join other tech firms such as Microsoft and Amazon, by pledging to not to add carbon emissions to the atmosphere by 2030

Apple has made a green pledge with its plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030.

The iPad maker announced the move on Tuesday, and said that although it is already carbon neutral today for corporate emissions worldwide, it 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).

carbon footprint green leaf © grafvision Shutterstock

Carbon neutral

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.

“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,” said Cook. “With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”

As part of the carbon pledge, Apple also released its 2020 Environmental Progress Report, which revealed the firm’s plans to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 while developing innovative carbon removal solutions for the remaining 25 percent of its comprehensive footprint.

Funding programs

To support these efforts, Apple is establishing an Impact Accelerator that will focus on investing in minority-owned businesses that drive positive outcomes in its supply chain and in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards.

This accelerator is part of Apple’s recently announced $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, focused on efforts that address education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform.

Apple said that it plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 by following a number of strategies. This includes the use of low carbon product design, that will will see the firm increase the use of low carbon and recycled materials in its products, as well as innovate in product recycling, and design products to be as energy efficient as possible.

The company’s Material Recovery Lab in Austin, Texas, which is focused on recycling technology, is now partnering with Carnegie Mellon University to further develop engineering solutions.

And Apple said that all iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices released in the past year are made with recycled content, including 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in the iPhone Taptic Engine – a first for Apple and for any smartphone.

The firm also said that it had decreased its carbon footprint by 4.3 million metric tons in 2019 through design and recycled content innovations in its products.

Over the past 11 years, Apple said that it has reduced the average energy needed for product use by 73 percent.

Other firms

Apple joins a number of tech firms with the carbon neutral pledge, but some rivals have promised to deliver tougher targets.

In January this year for example, Microsoft promised to remove “all of the carbon” from the environment that it emitted ever since it was founded back in 1975.

A carbon negative pledge is different from a carbon neutral pledge. Back in 2012, Microsoft had said it would be carbon neutral across all its direct operations by July 2013.

But in reality being carbon neutral is the goal most firms set themselves nowadays.

CEO Jeff Bezos last year for example pledged to make Amazon carbon neutral and meet the goals of the Paris accord by 2040.

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