A bold new plan by Apple is getting headlines this morning, as the company’s leadership pledges to make the entire multinational operation carbon neutral by 2030.
Apple’s 10-year plan identifies a few key components in the practical balancing of carbon emissions that, to many, comes late in the game – after the U.S. has achieved a troublesome reputation for backing out of international climate deals, and scientists have been harping on disappearing ice for a decade or more.
Some of Apple’s key techniques and strategies for carbon-neutrality read like a list of what everyone should have been doing since the first years of the millennium.
First, Apple talks about low-carbon product design, where, for example, the new iPhones will be made with low-carbon aluminum manufactured by companies meeting ISO 14064. The standard lays out how sustainable design is achieved, and low carbon aluminum is also more recyclable in general.
Apple also identifies energy efficiency and renewable energy use as integral components to its plan, along with carbon removal. Whether Apple plans to reforest areas of the earth or take CO2 directly from the air with massive direct air capture facilities remains to be seen.
Another evident advance in Apple’s green plan involves a reuse strategy. Tech press venues report on Apple’s new robotic recycling initiative where specially built robots tear apart hundreds of phones and sort the little parts and pieces, although reporters concede that rare earth metals can “become impure” in the process, decreasing the efficacy of such programs.
“Apple said its corporate operations around the world are already carbon neutral, but the new commitment will mean ‘every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact’ by 2030,” writes Carrie Mihalcik at CNet.
The bottom line is that Apple is now moving aggressively. Will other firms follow? Will these types of private sector efforts start to change government policy? Only if we have reasonable leadership in place to pursue climate change in a way that can no longer be called proactive, but might blunt the impact of the eventual frying of the planet.