Recently, Apple announced that 21 manufacturers in its supply chain have vowed to procure all their electricity through renewable and non-polluting energy sources. This will put the use of renewable energy by the company and the manufacturing supply chains at more than 40% and the total number of participating suppliers to 44 – which means that the total amount of renewable energy that will be used by the company and its suppliers by 2020 to more than five gigawatts.
It was only last year that Apple had made a statement that it had purchased sufficient renewable energy to be able to cover all of its operations and much of its suppliers as well. This is a positive step towards fighting climate change as it will cut down the emissions that are a result of non-renewable energy sources.
The technological prowess of such tech giants can go a long way in helping this cause. They can do things that other firms probably cannot do due to their lack of power or funds. For instance, Google launched a campaign to help local political leaders identify the sources of carbon pollution. Even Apple has such a platform where suppliers can find sources of renewable energy from which they can obtain power.
Climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed not just by the government but also by private entities who too can make a valuable contribution to combating climate change. This announcement can be seen as an outcome of its shareholders and customers continual requests to companies to step into action after President Trump’s commitment to withdraw from the Paris accord.
Apple also mentioned that almost three-fourths of its carbon footprint comes from manufacturing — most of which Apple outsources. The step can be seen in the light of the important role that US businesses can play in stepping up for climate change and reducing carbon emissions. But Apple is just a few among the Silicon Valley firms who have taken an initiative towards getting power for manufacturing and data processing from carbon-free sources.
Apple’s climate-friendly initiatives range from contributing to 40 environmental projects — like solar rooftops in Japan and water conservation in Oregon aquifer to topping $2.5 billion in green bonds that it raised for promoting renewable energy and other such projects.
Even though Apple is looking at extremely consequential steps — the company committed to obtaining all the aluminum it needs for its MacBook Air and other laptops and computers from recycled sources — there is a key area where Apple is lagging behind and not keeping the environment in consideration. The perpetual cycle of products that are released creates and adds on to the mountains of e-waste as consumers keep discarding old phone for the newer ones. Manufacturing these products require huge amounts of energy and add tonnes of waste in the process. Some of these wastes could be pollutants. Waste consumes energy and is a huge threat to the environment.
Environmentalists have also pointed out how Apple’s decisions to frequently change the design of the charging ports of its laptops and cellphones also leads to several power cords being abandoned and added to e-waste. In the bid to consume less energy and reduce waste, it must take steps towards developing more clever designs and robust products that would not need replacement. But all said and done, this is a commendable step that will go a long way if implemented efficiently and also motivate other business firms to take such steps, realizing their fundamental role in environmental conservation.