Tech giant's CEO Tim Cook said he wants net zero pledge to 'be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change'
Apple has become the latest US tech behemoth to step up its net zero ambitions, today pledging to be 'carbon neutral' throughout its entire business, manufacturing supply chain and product life cycle by the end of the decade.
The company claims it is already today carbon neutral across its global corporate operations, but today's pledge means that every Apple product - including all iPhones, iPads and MacBooks sold worldwide - would need to have zero climate impact by 2030, it said.
The net zero commitment therefore covers both the energy used by companies which supply the materials used to make Apple products, as well as the electricity used by customers to charge iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and other items.
In order to deliver the goal, the company plans to cut its emissions by 75 per cent over the next 10 years, while developing "innovative carbon removal solutions" to offset the remaining 25 per cent of its carbon footprint.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said businesses had "a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future", and that the net zero transition held huge potential to boost jobs and economic growth worldwide.
"The innovations powering our environmental journey are not only good for the planet - they've helped us make our products more energy efficient and bring new sources of clean energy online around the world," he said. "Climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change."
Apple, one of the world's biggest publicly-listed companies with a market capitalisation valued at over $1tr, also said it was also providing further detail on its approach to carbon neutrality by publishing today a roadmap to assist other companies and industries embarking on the net zero journey.
Apple's Climate Roadmap aims to firstly slash emissions through investing in greener design of its products to make them more efficient and recyclable, expanding energy efficiency efforts across its own operations as well as its suppliers, helping its suppliers switch to renewable energy, and investing in process and material innovations such green aluminium production.
In addition, the firm said it was investing in forests and other nature-based solutions around the world to remove carbon from the atmosphere and offset its own emissions, as well as launching a "first of its kind" carbon solutions fund in partnership with Conservation International to invest in the restoration and protection of forests and natural ecosystems.
And, to further support its decarbonisation efforts, Apple said it was establishing an Impact Accelerator focused on investing in minority-owned businesses to help tackle emissions in its supply chain and support communities "disproportionately affected by environmental hazards".
The Accelerator forms part of the firm's recently-announced $100m Racial Equality and Justice Initiative focused on efforts to address education, economic equality and criminal justice reform, it explained.
Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said "systemic racism and climate change are not separate issues".
"We're proud of our environmental journey and the ambitious roadmap we have set for the future," she added. "We have a generational opportunity to help build a greener and more just economy, one where we develop whole new industries in the pursuit of giving the next generation a planet worth calling home."
Apple's net zero pledge is just the latest in a string of major decarbonisation targets set my leading tech companies over the past year. Microsoft has committed to an industry-leading goal of becoming "carbon negative" by 2030, promising to stop more carbon from being released into atmosphere that its business generates, as well as cutting enough CO2 to offset all emissions it has generated since the company's formation in the early 1970s. Online retail and tech giant Amazon, meanwhile, has set its sights on achieving net zero by 2040, even naming a US sports stadium after its pledge.It also follows hot on the heels of 10 leading multinationals today joining forces to launch the Transform Net Zero initiative aimed at helping the private sector ramp up its decarbonisation efforts in line with a 1.5C warming trajectory. Members of the alliance include Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Unilever, among others, all of which have agreed to share best practice and resources towards delivering net zero.
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