In the lead up to Earth Day next Monday, Apple today released the 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report with detailed information on its climate change solutions. Apple.com was also updated today with a banner image linked to the environmental report.
“It was just a year ago that we reached our goal of covering 100 percent of our operations with 100 percent renewable electricity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “That work continues as we source the clean energy needed to maintain that standard — even as our c ompany grows.
The 87-page PDF document, covering Apple’s fiscal 2017, highlights all the advances the Cupertino tech giant has made in helping preserve our environment and making its products environment-friendly and energy-efficient.
The key takeaways include:
- Apple’s overall carbon footprint is down 35 percent versus 2015
- Carbon emissions for Apple’s direct operations dropped by 64 percent since 2011
- 4.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions were reduced versus 2018’s report
- 70 percent decrease in average product energy use in 10 years
- All of Apple’s global facilities are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy
- 2018 MacBook Air and mini are first Macs made with 100 percent recycled aluminum
- Emissions from aluminum in Apple’s products was down by 45 percent from 2018
- In 10 years, Apple’s reduced average product energy use by 70 percent
- 14 priority materials will transition to 100 percent recycled or renewable content
- Apple suppliers that assemble its products now use safer cleaners and degreasers
Thanks to Apple’s energy efficiency initiatives at its global facilities, the company was able to save 41.5 million kilowatt-hours. “We’re sourcing 100 percent renewable energy for all the electricity used at our facilities in 43 countries around the world,” the report reads.
“Two- thirds of this renewable energy comes from Apple-created projects.”
Nearly two years ago, the iPhone maker said it had created enough sustainable forestland to cover all paper packaging products. Now all of Apple’s retail packaging is made out of 100 percent responsibly sourced wood fiber. Plastic usage in Apple’s packaging is down 48 percent in three years—As of March 2019, all of its retail stores now use 100 percent fiber bags.
The 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report covering fiscal year 2016 announced a goal to make all products from 100 percent renewable or recycled materials as soon as possible. Apple isn’t there yet and it hasn’t given up trying.
We’re on a mission to one day use only recycled and renewable materials in our products and packaging, and to eventually eliminate our reliance on mining altogether.
We’re reducing the amount of water we use and waste we produce to make our products. And after our devices have enjoyed long lives, we look to them as a resource for the future.
Apple’s other environment-friendly initiatives include a new lab in Austin, Texas dedicated to material recovery research, trade-in programs, recycled aluminum, tin, cobalt and plastic, as well as efforts to increase the usable lifespan of its devices.
The report contains this bit on device longevity:
You count on your device day after day. So we design our products with durable materials, support them with ongoing OS updates, and make them easy to get repaired if anything happens. Because the longer a device is in use, the better use we make of the Earth’s resources.
It also includes the recent announcement that 44 of the company’s suppliers have committed to 100 percent renewable energy for their production of Apple gadgets.
With these pledges, the company’s on track to exceed its 2020 goal to bring 4 gigawatts of new clean energy into its supply chain. Apple’s total carbon footprint was estimated at 25.2 million metric tons, with nearly three-quarters of that (74 percent) classified as manufacturing. 19 percent is classed as product use, five percent is attributed to transport, two percent to corporate facilities and less than one percent to end-of-life product use.
“At Apple, it’s simple. We apply the same level of innovation that goes into everything we create, design, power and manufacture to making things better for people and the planet,” writes Jackson. “And we make it simple for customers and partners who share our passion to join us in this work. In a time where the threats facing our planet are too great to ignore, we are demonstrating that businesses must play a vital role.”
The iPhone maker will be supporting the efforts of the Conservation International, SEE Foundation and The Recycling Partnership non-profits, according to the press release.
Last summer, it announced a plan that would have it and ten of its suppliers jointly invest nearly $300 million over the next four years into 1+ gigawatt renewable energy projects in China, enough to power nearly a million homes.
Apple’s latest environmental report can be viewed at apple.com/environment.