Idea Exchange – Karen Ho

Apple Inc. unveiled its plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030. The company is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact.

This would have caused a ripple impact along Apple’s supply chain.

According to the company’s Environmental Progress Report published in July, more than three-quarters of the emissions from making Apple’s products come from their suppliers. In order to achieve this goal, Apple would have to get help from their major suppliers. That includes Taiwanese electronics giants like TSMC and Foxconn, which still get about 90% of their power from non-renewable sources.71 of Apple’s hundreds manufacturing partners in 17 different countries have committed to 100% renewable energy for Apple production. Their Supplier Clean Energy Program now has 7.8 gigawatts of clean energy commitments. Once completed, these commitments will avoid over 14.3 million metric tons of Carbon Emissions annually—the equivalent of taking more than 3 million cars off the road each year.

Taiwanese companies make up a significant proportion of Apple’s suppliers worldwide because of their dominance of sectors such as contract manufacturing and made-to-order semiconductors.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC)., which exclusively makes cutting-edge chips for Apple’s iPhones and iPads, and used renewable energy and credits for 6.7% of its power in 2019, has committed to producing renewable energy for its entire operations by 2050, according to their press releases to join RE100 also from July. RE100 is the global corporate renewable energy initiative bringing together hundreds of large and ambitious businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn, which assembles more than 100 million iPhones annually, will be installing solar panels on the roofs and in places like Henan province in China, where coal is still the dominant source for power. The company had installed 224 megawatts of clean energy by the end of 2019, up from 33 in 2017, the company said in its sustainability report.

The morale of this story is that customers can make a positive impact to change how their suppliers run the business, and in this case, leaving no carbon footprint to protect our Mother Earth.

Note: This is not an advertisement for Apple Inc.


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