Apple released its annual environmental progress report on Tuesday, showing how the company is continuing its efforts to achieve carbon neutrality,media outlet Apple Insider reported. In 2018, Apple will be able to claim that its data centers, distribution centers, retail stores and corporate offices are all running with 100 percent renewable energy. As of January 2020, more than 83 percent of Apple’s renewable energy purchases — the equivalent of 1.2 gigawatts — came from projects created by Apple.
Apple has divided the “Apple Creation” project into three broad categories:
The biggest category at the moment is Apple’s long-term renewable energy contract. While this means that technically their companies may be able to provide energy from fossil fuels, a large portion of the money they spend is spent on research, development and eventual deployment of local renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind farms.
The second largest category is projects directly owned by Apple. Whenever possible, Apple will build its own renewable energy projects. Projects include solar and wind farms, biogas fuel cells and low-impact hydro projects.
Its smallest category is equity investment. When Apple can’t build its own projects, it invests in renewable energy projects, such as solar photovoltaic farms or wind projects. This allows the company to become part-owners, enabling them to match renewable energy generation to energy use.
Apple says its goal is to eventually cover all power use with projects created by Apple.
As it turns out, Apple isn’t content with running with 100% renewable energy. It hoped that its suppliers would do the same. About 75 percent of Apple’s carbon footprint is in its global supply chain. Of this 75 per cent, about 70 per cent of its emissions come from electricity.
In 2019, Apple will step in and encourage its production partners to do the same. Apple’s suppliers are slowly but surely switching to greener fossil fuel alternatives such as solar, wind, biomass and hydropower. The company has set a goal of providing a supply chain powered entirely by renewable energy by 2030.
Now, Apple plans to help surrounding communities take the green step. In 2019, they launched the Power for Impact project, which gives local communities and organizations access to cost-effective renewable energy. The project has already started in developing countries where Apple has relatively small energy needs, such as the Philippines, which has installed 100 kilowatts of rooftop solar panels at an educational institution.
Apple also encourages aggregator efforts, such as last year’s China Clean Energy Fund. By encouraging buyers to join forces to buy renewable energy, this gives small companies access to cost-effective renewable energy that may not be available independently.
But these are not the only steps Apple has taken. One of Apple’s most interesting moves is to voluntarily withdraw from government-subsidized renewable energy projects. Government subsidies are crucial for many companies that want to take the first step towards energy efficiency. They also increase the availability, affordability and effectiveness of renewable energy projects.
However, as with many subsidies, government-subsidized renewable energy incentives are highly competitive. By removing itself from the “pool” of competing companies, Apple has given other companies an opportunity to take the first step toward becoming greener.
According to Apple’s 2020 Environmental Progress Report, its 42-megawatt solar PV project in Denmark will be operational by the end of 2019. The project uses 100% renewable energy to power its new Viborg data center, and has been doing so since day one. Apple has also encouraged china’s renewable energy market to transition from subsidized feed-in tariffs to non-subsidized grid-connected projects.
Apple’s commitment to counteracting its environmental impact is admirable and has consistently set high standards for its competitors. Many environmental agencies and advocates have taken note.
“Greenpeace USA welcomes Apple’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions to help prevent further catastrophic climate change — which has the greatest impact on black, brown and indigenous communities,” said Elizabeth Jardim, senior corporate advocate for Greenpeace USA. “This commitment is a significant step forward from what we’ve seen from Apple in the past.”
Of course, Apple has benefited from these efforts. In addition to the environmental benefits, fruit powders often use the compassion and sense of responsibility of their businesses as a reason to continue to buy from them.