Why Apple just bought 36,000 acres of private forestland

Apple has partnered with The Conservation Fund to purchase about 36,000 acres of private forestland in Maine and North Carolina, which will be sustained and harvested for packaging future products, Buzzfeed’s Ellen Cushing reports.

The Conservation Fund will manage the two tracts of land, which combine to be roughly 2.5X bigger than Manhattan, while Apple — and other companies, too — will occasionally harvest the land in what’s called the “working forest” model, which ensures the long-term economic stability of the forests.

Still, it’s unclear how much paper from these forests Apple plans to use for its packaging. The company sells hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macs each year, and each of those devices comes with a paper package that’s made of about one-third of non-recycled fibre.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives, told Buzzfeed that Apple wants to get to the point where these forests can provide “100%” of the non-recycled fibre used in Apple’s packaging.

“We feel a deep responsibility to take real action and make sure we’re addressing our own footprint, ” Jackson told Buzzfeed. “And if we take the approach of just buying sustainably sourced paper, we’re not making the world a better place — we’re zeroing out. Apple has been really clear that we want to leave the world better than we found it; that’s one of our values.”

Apple has been heavily investing in renewable energy in recent years. The company’s next headquarters will run on 100% renewable energy; it’s currently developing a $US850 million solar farm in California; and the company wants all its future stores and data centres to run on renewable energy, too.

Jackson, who served as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009 to 2013, says she feels Apple is “stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences in terms of not just being responsible, but using our voice.”

Check out the full story on Buzzfeed.

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