26.04.2022 BLOG

Reaching Apple’s Eco Friendly Goals

Fifty years ago, the first Earth Day started an environmental revolution. Now, we are igniting an education revolution to save the planet. Public expectations of business leaders have changed in the past few years. “How are you helping your business succeed?” is no longer the pertinent question. Today, people expect businesses to help the world succeed — through their products and services, through responsible and ethical behaviour and by active contribution to social and environmental issues. According to a study by research firm Clutch, 75% of people want large businesses to take a stand on social and environmental issues. Businesses also face this expectation internally, from their employees.

Technology can be part of the solution

Government agencies and non-profits, for instance, certainly know the nuances of challenges facing specific communities; they have the insights to improve matters and are often making a real difference. Technology can help many of these efforts when used thoughtfully. Tech firms must have the humility to recognise that the complexity of social-human matters don’t have ‘technology solutions’, but technology can be an important and sometimes unique piece in the tapestry of solutions.

An example is the challenge that government agencies have faced in adapting to the digital age, partly from the lack of adequate public tech infrastructure. Tech companies, meanwhile, bring this infrastructure and agility to clients every day. So partnerships between the two seem like a natural solution.

In line with Earth Day 2022, Apple has been busy talking about of its environmental initiatives. It has been shedding light on its devices in the process. As part of its 2022 Environmental Progress Report, the company has revealed that 18 percent of the material in its fiscal 2021 products was recycled or renewed, the “highest-ever” ratio at the iPhone maker and a 50 percent jump from last year’s 12 percent. There were eight new products including at least 20 percent recycled material. This included the company’s first use of certified recycled gold (in the mainboards and camera arrays of the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro), while reuses of cobalt, rare earth elements and tungsten “more than doubled” over the year.

Earth Day gave us an opportunity to reflect on the impact we as the human race are having on the environment, to consider our actions and do our best with what we can to restore our planet. In an economy where 100 companies are responsible for over 70% of world emissions, change needs to be led by big corporations. Apple being one of them and with their latest environmental report, it shows that taking responsibility for one’s environmental impact is possible.

The tech firm also said it had cut nearly all use of plastics in its packaging. The material represented just 4 percent of packaging in 2021, and the new iPhones were the company’s first handsets without any plastic packing material. Apple hopes to eliminate all use of plastic in its packaging by 2025.

Did you know?

  • The planet is losing 4.7 million hectares of forests every year – an area larger than Denmark.
  • A healthy ecosystem helps to protect us from these diseases. Biological diversity makes it difficult for pathogens to spread rapidly.
  • It is estimated that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.

Similar to previous years, the biggest generator of Apple’s carbon footprint is the production processes and according to the 2021 Environmental Report 71 percent of Apple’s total carbon emissions come from manufacturing, with product use stages creating 19 percent of Apple’s carbon emissions. Comparing to 2019 fiscal year, the proportion of Apple’s carbon emissions at manufacturing in 2020 slightly dropped from 75 to 71 percent and product use increased from 16 to 19 percent.

Looking at Apple’s carbon footprint , they are now removing charging adapters as default accessories from its iPhone 12 and Apple Watch retail boxes. In turn, this means that 861,000 tonnes of copper, tin and zinc ore are expected to be saved. Additionally, up to 70% more retail boxes can be fitted on a single pallet due to smaller packaging which results in more efficient transportation and further carbon footprint elimination. However, it’s noteworthy that Apple’s carbon output within transportation has increased from 1.4 million to 1.8 million metric tonnes of CO2-e in 2020 despite packaging changes which is likely to be connected with the growth of the company and the release of the upgraded iPhone SE.

Essentially, Apple is eager to share its eco-friendly goals including plans to make both its products and the supply chain carbon neutral by 2030. There is still a long way to go in delivering greener technologies but it’s still good to know that the hardware you buy won’t deal quite as severe a blow as it would have in the past.

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