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Apple Sustainability News, Milestones, Partnerships and Net Zero Timeline

November 10, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Apple is striving to make its entire product portfolio carbon neutral by 2030. Much of the effort, led by VP Lisa Jackson, is outlined in Apple's 2023 Environmental Progress Report.

Apple has so far reduced total emissions by over 45 percent since 2015, while still growing revenue by over 65 percent in the same period, according to a September 2023 statement from the company. And since 2018, all of Apple’s corporate offices, data centers and retail stores worldwide have been powered by renewable electricity, the company asserts.

On the partner front, more than 300 global suppliers have now joined Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy Program, committing to 100% renewable electricity for all Apple production by the end of this decade, the company asserts.

Beyond its 2030 carbon neutral goal, Apple is also working toward a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050, the company said.

November 2023: Apple Sustainability Strategy and Timeline

  • Apple does not charge more to account for its carbon reduction efforts on its widely-used consumer technology products, Lisa Jackson said at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York, Reuters reported.

October 2023: Apple Sustainability Strategy and Timeline

Podcast: Professor Ayman Omar, a supply chain expert from the Kogod School of Business, offers perspectives on Carbon Neutral Apple Watch and technology supply chains.

September 2023: Apple Sustainability Strategy and Timeline

  • Accelerator: Acumen, with support from Apple, has selected 15 startups to join the Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator, India Today reported. The 12-week program, hosted in India, is designed to help social entrepreneurs scale and refine their businesses to "transform the lives of people living in poverty, while also protecting the environment."
  • Right to Repair - Apple Airpod Challenges: Although Apple promotes carbon-neutral products and the company is warming up to California's Right to Repair Act, Apple AirPod products will need a redesign in order to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, Vox reports.

September 12, 2023: Carbon Neutral Apple Watch and More

But the initiatives don't end there. During a full-day of product launches on September 12, 2023, Apple unveiled new applications, products and services to help the company -- along with customers and partners -- with their sustainability efforts.

Among the key September 2023 news developments to note: Apple has...

  • introduced carbon neutral Apple Watch models;
  • ended the use of leather across all of its product lines;
  • announced its first entirely fiber-based packaging for the new Apple Watch lineup;
  • continued to expand the use of recycled materials in iPhone; and
  • introduced Grid Forecast, a Home app that lets users know when their grid has cleaner energy available.

Each carbon neutral Apple Watch model, the company said has:

  • 100% clean electricity for manufacturing and product use;
  • 30% recycled or renewable material by weight;
  • 50% of shipping without the use of air transportation; 

To offset the remaining carbon footprint, Apple plans to use "high-quality carbon credits" from such organizations as Restore Fund, Arbaro Advisors and BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group. Every carbon neutral Apple Watch is certified by SCS Global Services, a provider of environmental standards and certification.

In a prepared statement about the efforts, Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, said: “At Apple, we have a longstanding and proven commitment to leading the fight against climate change. Our focus on renewable energy and low-carbon design has already driven industry-leading emissions reductions, and we’re not slowing down. We’ve achieved an important milestone in making the world’s most popular watch carbon neutral — and we will keep innovating to meet the urgency of the moment.”

Jackson is well-known worldwide for her sustainability acumen. In August 2023, Jackson joined Galvanize Climate Solutions, a climate-focused global investment firm, as strategic advisor.

Despite the efforts above, Apple still faces occasional criticism from human rights activists who point to potential labor issues in Asia; e-waste and recycling limitations; and Apple's slow adoption of Right to Repair initiatives. We'll provide more details about those criticisms -- and Apple's responses -- in an article update soon.

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