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E6: Carbon Neutral Apple Watch Claims, Sustainability Reality Check for Tech Industry Supply Chains

October 26, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

When the carbon neutral Apple Watch made headlines in September 2023, some critics accused Apple of greenwashing, and a few pundits said the technology company was stretching the truth.

For more context on the carbon neutral Apple Watch and a reality check on tech industry supply chains, we spoke with Professor Ayman Omar, the associate dean for graduate programs at the Kogod School of Business, and a faculty member in the IT & analytics department.

Professor Omar's expertise spans global supply chains; supply chain management; sustainability; greening in the supply chain; supply chain process integration, outsourcing and off shoring.

Here's the conversation -- Episode 6 of the Sustainable Tech Partner Podcast.

The conversation covers:

  • 0:00 - Introductions
  • 1:07 - Professor Omar's supply chain management research, especially as it pertains to sustainability with partners and suppliers.
  • 3:09 - Some key moments when Professor Omar sharpened his focus on supply chain sustainability.
  • 6:55 - The carbon neutral Apple Watch: Can Apple back up that carbon neutrality claim or are they bending the truth in some areas?
  • 12:55 - The carbon credit portion of the Apple Watch conversation: Should we take it seriously or move on from carbon credit as a way to close sustainability gaps?
  • 14:27 - When it comes to supply chain sustainability, where are tech companies making progress and where are they still struggling?
  • 16:30 - We look at risk through the long lens. Black swan events are no longer once-per-century or once-per-generation events.
  • 18:18 - Example: How the Panama drought impacted lakes and water flow into the Panama canal -- and what that can potentially mean to supply chains, shipments and associated carbon emissions.
  • 20:22 - You need to "assume disruption" in your supply chain.
  • 22:30 - Researching supply chains and sustainability: Are there signs of progress? If so, where?
  • 24:50 - How regulations are influencing supply chain sustainability.
  • 26:40 - Are consumers demanding that their product suppliers maintain responsible business practices?
  • 28:00 - How Wallart aligns sustainability, cost-reductions and supplier relationships.
  • 29:55 - Why small businesses can't please ignorance about sustainability -- especially if you're part of a larger business's supply chain.
  • 31:37 - Where we might see sustainability progress in 2024.
  • 33:38 - How to reach Professor Omar.
  • 34:22 - Conclusion

More Podcasts: See all of our Sustainable Tech Partner Podcasts here.

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2 comments on “E6: Carbon Neutral Apple Watch Claims, Sustainability Reality Check for Tech Industry Supply Chains”

  1. Multiple research reports and media reports suggest that the carbon neutral Apple watch is greenwashing. Has your opinion about Apple's claims changed or evolved since the time of this interview?

  2. Hi Chris: Thanks for checking out the podcast, and for posting your question. In a separate story, we mention that the carbon neutral Apple Watch claims face pushback from some critics. My personal view? Apple stretched the truth here and I don't believe the overall carbon neutral claim. But, I'm willing to give Apple some wiggle room because they pointed out specific metrics where they're making progress toward sustainability. I think the shortfall involves how they're using carbon credits in an attempt to fulfill their overall claims. I hope that clarifies my personal views. -jp

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