Apple confirms big moves toward carbon neutral supply chain
Apple shared additional insight into its plans to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030.
It has now confirmed progress with over 110 of its global network of manufacturing partners moving to 100% renewable energy. The company announced the first projects completed with help from its Green bond last month.
That Apple now has 110 partners embracing renewables shows positive momentum. In December, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his company was working with 95 suppliers on the transition.
“This is no time for changes at the margins,” Cook said at that time. “Together we can transition to a carbon neutral economy and usher in a new era of inclusive opportunity. This is a moment for ambition, cooperation, and leadership.”
What Apple says
“We are firmly committed to helping our suppliers become carbon neutral by 2030 and are thrilled that companies who’ve joined us span industries and countries around the world, including Germany, China, the US, India, and France,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives.
“In a year like no other, Apple continued to work with a global network of colleagues, companies, and advocates to help make our environmental efforts and everything we do a force for good in people’s lives — and to work alongside the communities most impacted by climate change.”
Apple has seen consistent reductions in its carbon footprint, even as net revenue increased.
The company’s footprint has decreased by 40 percent, marking steady progress toward its 2030 target, and it has avoided more than 15 million metric tons of emissions through initiatives to use low-carbon materials, drive energy efficiency, and switch to clean energy.
Speaking on this matter with The Independent, Jackson said that many more companies from across its supply chain are taking steps toward becoming carbon neutral:
“In general, it’s not convincing them,” she said. “It’s making clear how they can do it and still run their business, and still keep their employees and do all the things that businesses are concerned about making a profit as well.”
Apple is collaborating with such partners.
Taking 3 million cars off the road
Apple says that once these companies make the move it will be the equivalent of taking over 3.4 million cars off the road each year. Apple continues to invest in renewable energy projects, along with a major energy storage project in California.
Apple is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. The company recently shared new details about its $4.7 billion spend in Green Bonds to support environmental projects around the world.
Selected highlights from the Apple report
Apple’s press release also shares some additional details.
- Apple is constantly developing new tools for its suppliers to help execute on their renewable energy goals.
- In Europe, DSM Engineering Materials’s wind power purchase agreement is bringing new clean energy to the grid in the Netherlands.
- STMicroelectronics’s solar carport in Morocco is supporting regional energy production.
- Companies like Solvay are now expanding their use of renewable energy to their broader operations after joining Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy Program five years ago.
- In the US, Alpha and Omega Semiconductor, Marian, The Chemours Company, and Trinseo all recently committed to the program.
- 15 suppliers in China joined Apple’s program since July 2020.
- Apple announced a wave of European investments in green energy in 2020.
How Apple helps
Apple shares its own experience transitioning to renewable energy with tis supply chain. As such it has developed resources and training materials with country-specific information to guide them.
Apple also educates suppliers through advanced and customized training with leading experts and supports the development of renewable energy industry associations that suppliers can join.
In many markets where the company operates, suppliers have limited options to access clean energy. To break down that barrier, Apple created the China Clean Energy Fund, which enables Apple and its suppliers to invest in clean energy projects totaling more than one gigawatt of renewable energy in China.
Apple also connects suppliers with opportunities to buy renewable energy directly from project developers and utilities as those models emerge around the globe.
Apple’s future work with suppliers will include sharing lessons learned from investment in storage solutions for renewable sites.
Apple is constructing one of the largest battery projects in the country, California Flats — an industry-leading, grid-scale energy storage project capable of storing 240 megawatt-hours of energy, enough to power over 7,000 homes for one day. This project supports the company’s 130-megawatt solar farm that provides all of its renewable energy in California, by storing excess energy generated during the day and deploying it when it is most needed.
Wind and solar power provide the most cost-effective new source of electricity to many parts of the world, but the intermittent nature of these technologies has presented an obstacle to widespread adoption.
One solution to intermittency is energy storage, which can retain generated energy until it is needed. Apple is investing in utility-scale storage in California and research into new energy storage technologies, even as it builds upon distributed storage capabilities in Santa Clara Valley and through Apple Park’s microgrid.
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