Apple gives update on clean energy plans as it pushes towards ‘ambitious’ goal to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 27 October 2021 17:48
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Apple says it is pushing ahead with its public plan to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030, signing up suppliers to the plan and launching new green projects.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, told The Independent that the company’s hope to become fully carbon neutral in less than 10 years remains a “hugely ambitious goal” and that it continues to work on its plans to ensure it is on track.

Apple is already carbon neutral in its own operations, but announced last year that it will ensure that applies through its own supply chain. By 2030, every product sold will have a net-zero climate impact, it said, and Ms Jackson said that Apple continues to work towards that goal.

“It will require tonnes of work and focus to ensure that we meet it and we're on track,” she said. “But we don't intend to take our eyes off the horizon for even one second – because it's going to require that level of commitment.”

In its latest announcements, Apple announced that it has more than doubled the number of suppliers committed using 100 per cent clean energy over the last year. That brings the total to 175 Apple suppliers as well as the company itself, equating to more than 9 gigawatts around the world.

Apple also said that it had added 10 new projects to a “Power for Impact” initiative that will bring clean energy solutions to communities around the world, with the aim of helping put renewable power into under-served communities.

Apple’s announcements come ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which environmentalists hope could lead to major announcements on climate goals. But as the conference approaches, many have sounded alarm that progress among governments has stalled.

Ms Jackson said that while government has a role to play, business can and should “lead the way”. That will require companies to look at the full effects of their products, she noted, in line with Apple’s commitment to ensure its carbon neutrality applies not just to its own operations but the full supply chain.

“You have to look at your products,” she said. “You know, if your product is fossil fuel, you need to look at the emissions associated with fossil fuels; with our products, which are our hardware, software and services, we need to look at the emissions associated with those so that we're we're looking far outside just our boundaries, our customers, our supply chain, as well.

“I never lose hope, because I see examples of leadership in the work that we and others are doing. But I also think we have to hold folks accountable to make their actions meet their words. And that is a big challenge for business.”

Ms Jackson said that the new projects, including the initiative to bring clean energy to under-served people, came from a recognition that the communities at the heart of renewable projects are often excluded from them. It would have been possible for Apple to do that through the usual system of renewable energy certificates, she said, but the projects were a way to “turn our need for clean energy into a community benefit”, she said.

“Every company should be a part of the fight against climate change, and together with our suppliers and local communities, we’re demonstrating all of the opportunity and equity green innovation can bring,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook in a statement.

“We’re acting with urgency, and we’re acting together. But time is not a renewable resource, and we must act quickly to invest in a greener and more equitable future.”

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