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Apple to be ‘100% carbon neutral’ across business by 2030 

Tech giant Apple has said it will be 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2030 by offsetting emissions of the greenhouse gas from its operations.

The iPhone maker said it will have a net zero carbon footprint in 10 years across its entire business, including its manufacturing supply chain.

Apple is already carbon neutral for its global corporate operations, such as its offices and data centres, which are powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. 

But this new commitment means every Apple device sold, including iPhones and Mac computers, will have net zero climate impact, according to the company. 

Apple’s most recent environmental report, covering the fiscal year 2018, put its carbon footprint at 25.2 million tons. 

The company is responsible for consuming huge quantities of energy to sustain its operations, generated from carbon-generating power sources.

It also mines the Earth for materials to make its iPhones, which leave discarded components that emit chemicals into the atmosphere once expended. 

Tech companies such as Apple are feeling the pressure to curb their carbon footprint to avoid potentially catastrophic effects of global warming at the end of this century. 

‘Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share,’ said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a blog post. 

‘By 2030, Apple’s entire business will be carbon neutral – from supply chain to the power you use in every device we make.

‘The planet we share can’t wait, and we want to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.’ 

Apple told MailOnline it was already committed to working towards carbon neutrality – since 2018, 100 percent of the electricity used at its facilities has come from renewable sources – but it hadn’t previously committed to a specific timeline for its entire footprint. 

Apple plans to achieve 75 per cent of the goal by reducing emissions, with the remaining 25 per cent coming from carbon removal or offset projects such as planting trees and restoring habitats. 

Apple has formed a ‘roadmap’ for carbon neutrality on its website, which it said would assist other companies in their efforts to reduce their impact on climate change. 

The 2020 Environmental Progress Report released today, explains the tech giant’s plans to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2030 and develop ‘innovative carbon removal solutions’ for the remaining 25 percent. 

Apple said 74 per cent of its overall carbon emissions are generated by manufacturing products such as its iPhones, iPads and Mac computers.  

The company has therefore been working with suppliers to reduce emissions by using recycled materials.

iPhones now use recycled rare earth elements in a component called the taptic engine, which enables its products to emit tactile sensations in the form of subtle vibrations.

Apple says its latest recycling innovation – a robot called Dave – disassembles the taptic engine from iPhones to better recover key materials such as rare earth magnets and tungsten. 

All iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices released in the past year are also made with recycled materials, including 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in the taptic engine, which is ‘a first for Apple and for any smartphone’. 

Apple is also supporting the development of the first-ever direct carbon-free aluminium smelting process through investments and collaboration with two of its aluminium suppliers.

It said the first batch of this low-carbon aluminium is currently being used in production of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. 

Elsewhere in its report, Apple continues to highlight its carbon-busting policies in place in preparation for carbon neutrality in 10 years.        

Apple claims to now have a commitment from more than 70 suppliers to use 100 percent renewable energy for production.

This is equivalent to nearly 8 gigawatts in commitments to power the manufacturing of its products. 

‘Once completed, these commitments will avoid over 14.3 million metric tons of CO2e annually – the equivalent of taking more than 3 million cars off the road each year,’ the tech giant said.  

Apple said its carbon removal efforts will also come via a fund to assist projects such as restoring mangrove ecosystems in Colombia and savannas in Kenya. 

The company also said it will identify new ways to lower energy use at its corporate facilities and help its supply chain make the same transition. 

Apple’s plan contrasts with other companies such as Microsoft, which earlier this year said it would invest $1 billion over the next four years in engineering-based carbon removal technologies.   

Microsoft pledged earlier this year to become carbon negative by removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits by 2030. 

By 2050, Microsoft will also remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. 

Meanwhile Amazon has a target of 2040 to become carbon neutral, while Google, which relies on wind power to support operations at its data centres, has already been carbon neutral for 12 years. 

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