To help stop climate change, Apple will make its entire supply chain carbon neutral by 2030, the company announced on Tuesday.
The commitment means dozens of iPhone and Mac producers, including Foxconn, are pledging to transition to clean energy manufacturing within a decade. The goal is to reduce the carbon emissions across Apple’s supply chain by 75 percent. The remaining 25 percent will then be offset to zero with the help of carbon capture technologies, including planting trees.
“By 2030, Apple’s entire business will be carbon neutral—from supply chain to the power you use in every device we make,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a tweet. “The planet we share can’t wait, and we want to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”
The company’s corporate offices, data centers, and stores are already carbon neutral. However, Apple is still generating a sizable greenhouse gas footprint via the world’s electronics supply chain, which is also mining metals to help pump out new iPhones and Macs.
However, over the years, Apple has been pushing its suppliers to adopt clean energy, such as solar and wind power. The company now says 71 manufacturing partners in 17 countries have committed to 100 percent renewable energy for building Apple products. Partners include Taiwan manufacturers Pegatron, Quanta Computer, and Compal Electronics, which have factories in China.
“Once completed, these commitments will avoid over 14.3 million metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) annually—the equivalent of taking more than 3 million cars off the road each year,” Apple said.
The company also wants to rely more on recycled materials to build its products, negating the need to smelt new raw materials. For instance, Apple has created a special robot that can automatically disassemble the taptic engine from old iPhones to extract the rare earth magnets inside. “All iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices released in the past year are made with recycled content,” the company added.
The company is investing in a carbon-free aluminum smelting process. (Credit: Apple)
On the manufacturing front, the company is investing in a new aluminum smelting process that releases oxygen instead of greenhouse gases. In addition, Apple is now using a low carbon aluminum material to build the recently released 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Other tech companies are also trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Amazon, for instance, is working to become carbon neutral by 2040, which will involve switching to all-electric delivery vehicles. Microsoft, meanwhile, wants to become “carbon negative” by 2030, meaning it’ll remove more greenhouse gases than it generates.
Despite Apple’s pledge to make its supply chain carbon neutral, the company said nothing about its repair policies. According to critics, the same policies often restrict third-party repair shops from fixing old MacBooks and iPads, which can force consumers to buy a new unit, and thus create more environmental waste.
The European Union has also been urging Apple to drop the Lightning port from iPhones in favor of USB-C, saying the different charging standards contribute to more e-waste.