Apple is launching a major new environmental initiative in China as part of its commitment to “power all its operations worldwide on 100 per cent renewable energy.”
Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, the Cupertino company plans to “protect as much as 1 million acres of responsibly managed working forests which provide fibre for pulp, paper and wood products.”
It also plans to increase its use of renewable energy sources at its manufacturing facilities in China.
Much of Apple’s manufacturing is done in China — but the Asian country’s poor environmental track record is at odds with Apple’s increasing commitment to green issues. China is currently the top polluter in the world, responsible for almost 25% of global carbon emissions, according to data from the World Bank. The US, the next highest, clocks in at around 16%.
Last month, Apple announced it was partnering with SunCorp to build two solar plants in China’s Suchuan province, which the company says “will generate far more energy than needed to power all of Apple’s corporate offices and retail stores in China.”
Apple also recently bought 36,000 acres of private forestland in Maine and North Carolina with the Conservation Fund as part of a commitment to get 100% of paper packaging from renewable sources. The China announcement — far larger in scope — shows the Cupertino company doubling down on this pledge.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple is “excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation.”In addition to Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook have all pledged to shift to 100% renewable energy over the long-term.
Here’s the complete press release:
BEIJING — May 11, 2015 — Apple® today announced an expansion of its renewable energy and environmental protection initiatives in China, including a new multi-year project with World Wildlife Fund to significantly increase responsibly managed forests across China. The new forestland program aims to protect as much as 1 million acres of responsibly managed working forests which provide fibre for pulp, paper and wood products.
Apple’s goal is to achieve a net-zero impact on the world’s supply of sustainable virgin fibre and power all its operations worldwide on 100 per cent renewable energy.
“Forests, like energy, can be renewable resources,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We believe we can run on naturally renewable resources and ensure that we protect — and create — as much sustainable working forest as needed to produce the virgin paper in our product packaging. This is an important step toward that goal and our commitment to leave the world better than we found it.”
Apple also announced its intent to expand its industry-leading renewable energy projects to manufacturing facilities in China.
“We’ve set an example by greening our data centres, retail stores and corporate offices, and we’re ready to start leading the way toward reducing carbon emissions from manufacturing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This won’t happen overnight — in fact it will take years — but it’s important work that has to happen, and Apple is in a unique position to take the initiative toward this ambitious goal. It is a responsibility we accept. We are excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation.”
Today’s announcements come three weeks after Apple launched its first major solar project in China. Solar installations in Sichuan Province will generate far more energy than needed to power all of Apple’s corporate offices and retail stores in China.
Apple is partnering with Leshan Electric Power Co., Sichuan Development Holding Co., Ltd, Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding Co., Ltd, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd, and SunPower Corporation on the project encompassing two 20-megawatt solar farms. Together the project will generate up to 80 million kilowatt hours per year of clean energy, enough to power the equivalent of 61,000 Chinese homes. That’s clean energy added to the grid that would otherwise not be there.
The solar projects were carefully designed to minimise their ecological impact and protect the grasslands that support the yak population, which is also important to the local economy. Today 87 per cent of Apple’s global operations run on renewable energy, and the Sichuan Province solar project will bring Apple even closer to its commitment to reach 100 per cent.
“Apple’s support for this project and its environmental leadership show that protecting forests is not just good for society but important for business,” said Lo Sze Ping, Chief Executive Officer for WWF China. “This collaboration between our two organisations will seek to reduce China’s ecological footprint by helping produce more wood from responsibly managed forests within its own borders. Doing so is essential to China, the world’s biggest timber importer. Our hope is this will catalyze a new model of corporate leadership in promoting sustainable forest management and using paper resources more efficiently and responsibly around the world.”
Learn more about Apple’s environmental efforts at www.apple.com/environment.