Apple puts cash into forests to fight climate change
Apple has introduced another attempt to mitigate the environmental consequences of its business, a $200 million fund that will invest in forestry projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Apple launches the Restore Fund
Aiming to remove at least one million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere, the Restore Fund is a business proposition the company is introducing together with Conservation International and Goldman Sachs.
Trees absorb carbon as they grow, with researchers estimating that tropical forests hold more carbon than humanity has emitted over the past 30 years from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, despite ongoing deforestation. The fund will invest in working forests that improve biodiversity through the creation of buffer zones and natural set-asides.
Conservation International is a co-investor in the fund and is ensuring that projects meet strict environmental and social standards. Goldman Sachs is managing the fund. The three parties will identify new projects later this year.
What does Apple hope to achieve?
Environmentalists will note that removing one million metric tons of carbon dioxide is the equivalent to the amount of fuel used by over 200,000 passenger vehicles.
The scheme should be seen as part of Apple’s broader goal to become carbon neutral across its entire value chain by 2030. While the company will directly eliminate 75 percent of emissions for its supply chain and products by 2030, the fund will help address the remaining 25 percent of Apple’s emissions by removing carbon from the atmosphere.
To ensure that the carbon stored in forests is being accurately quantified, and permanently locked out of the atmosphere, the Restore Fund will use robust international standards developed by recognized organizations such as Verra, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UN Climate Convention.
Apple has used 100 percent responsibly sourced fibers in its packaging for the last three years. It has also pioneered carbon projects with Conservation International to protect and restore grasslands, wetlands, and forests. I can’t help but see it as helping finance the march of the Ents to remove the environmental destruction of Saruman.
What Apple said
“Nature provides some of the best tools to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Forests, wetlands, and grasslands draw carbon from the atmosphere and store it away permanently in their soils, roots, and branches,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives.
“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. Our hope is that others share our goals and contribute their resources to support and protect critical ecosystems.”
In December, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his company was working with its suppliers to move them to a carbon neutral process. “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.”
Goldman Sachs explains the Restore Fund
Dina Powell, Global Head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth at Goldman Sachs said:
“We all agree that the urgency of climate transition requires private capital to work alongside new and established efforts aimed at sustainably removing carbon from the atmosphere with rigor and high standards. We believe launching this fund can catalyze significant additional investment capital for climate impact.”
Conservation International explains the Restore Fund
“Investing in nature can remove carbon far more effectively — and much sooner — than any other current technology. As the world faces the global threat climate change presents, we need innovative new approaches that can dramatically reduce emissions,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International.
“We are excited to build on our long-standing partnership with Apple and believe the groundbreaking approach with the Restore Fund will make a huge difference and benefit communities around the world with new jobs and revenue that support everything from education to healthcare.”
In 2018, Apple partnered with Conservation International, local government, and conservation organizations in Colombia to protect and restore a 27,000-acre mangrove forest in the country.
Apple and Conservation International have also partnered with local conservation organizations in Kenya to restore degraded savannas in the Chyulu Hills region, an area between three national parks in Kenya and just across the border from Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. Scaling up this work across the degraded rangeland and natural savannas across Africa could remove hundreds of millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year, while also benefiting local communities and wildlife.
A small step to closed loop manufacturing
Since 2017, 100 percent of the virgin wood fiber used in Apple’s packaging has come from responsible sources — the same sort of responsibly managed working forests in which the Restore Fund intends to invest.
This represents the company’s first closed-loop material as part of its goal to one day make products using only recycled or renewable materials. After launching the first iPhone with majority-fiber packaging in 2016, Apple’s newest iPhone 12 lineup now arrives to customers in packaging that comprises 93 percent fiber-based materials.
Apple has improved the management of more than 1 million acres of working forests in the United States and China since 2015 with The Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund.
How to support Earth Day with Apple Pay
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.
Working Forests and Responsible Packaging
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