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Apple is borrowing money to fund eco-friendly projects

Lisa Jackson Tim CookGettyApple Environmental VP Lisa Jackson and CEO Tim Cook attend a White House dinner.

Apple is raising a special 7-year “green bond,” where all the money will be used for environmentally friendly projects.

Apple sells bonds quite frequently to help fund operating expenses. But this type of green bond is new for the company. It will seek to raise between $10 and $12 billion, according to the Financial Times.

Green bonds are intended to make it easier for investors to identify environmentally friendly projects. Apple’s debt will follow a set of voluntary guidelines called the Green Bond Principles.

According to the bond’s prospectus, the funds will be distributed by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives.

Apple has detailed what makes an individual project eligible for green bond funds. In particular, Apple will spend the funds on projects that meet one or more of these criteria:

  • Solar and wind projects and associated energy storage
  • Buildings that meet official “green building” standards, including LEED and BREEAM
  • Environmental upgrades for new buildings, including on-site renewable energy
  • Environmental upgrades for existing buildings, such as water-efficient or heating-efficient fixtures
  • Projects that encourage recycling
  • Projects “and technologies that facilitate the use of greener materials in our products”

Jackson was the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama before she joined Apple in 2013.

Since Jackson took over, Apple has taken steps towards moving to using clean energy in its data centres, including building a large solar farm near its Maiden, North Carolina data center, which has been certified to LEED Platinum standards, a sign the building was constructed with its carbon footprint in mind.

Apple has also committed billions for clean energy in partnerships with solar providers such as First Solar. Apple says that its data centres are powered by 100% renewable energy.

Apple has also called its new California “spaceship” campus, expected to open next year, the “greenest building on the planet,” although some architects have cast doubt on Apple’s efficiency claims.

“We know that climate change is real. Our view is that the time for talk has passed, and the time for action is now. We’ve shown that with what we’ve done,” CEO Tim Cook said at the Goldman Sachs technology conference in 2015.

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