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Apple environmental goals for suppliers will be enforced by audits


One of Apple’s environmental goals was for its entire supply chain to be carbon-neutral by 2030. More than two years after the objective was announced, the company hints at being unhappy with progress, and has announced that it will now begin carrying out annual progress audits.

In an implied threat to suppliers that aren’t showing sufficient movement toward this goal, Apple said that it “will partner with suppliers that are working with urgency and making measurable progress toward decarbonization” …

Background

Apple achieved its initial goal of running all its own operations from renewable energy back in 2018.

All Apple facilities, from Apple Park to its data centers to the worldwide fleet of Apple retail stores, are now solely powered by green energy. By 2017, it was close to 96%, but now it’s finally hit the magic 100 number. Apple has gone from 16% renewable energy to 100% in eight years.

In parallel with this, the company began working on greening its supply chain back in 2015 – with particular emphasis on its main production hub, China.

Apple this evening has revealed a handful of new programs in China that promote the use of clean energy. Apple says that the programs will help avoid 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution in China between now and 2020, which is the equivalent of removing 4 million vehicles from the road for one year.

In 2020, Apple committed to making its entire supply chain carbon-neutral by 2030. It laid out a 10-year road map for achieving this, which ranged from designing products to be as energy-efficient as possible, to carbon removal through planting new forests.

It shot a video to highlight this promise.

Apple environmental goals for suppliers get teeth

Back in 2020, Apple described the incentives and assistance it was offering to suppliers; today, it’s instead emphasizing enforcement measures.

The company will evaluate the work of its major manufacturing partners to decarbonize their Apple-related operations — including running on 100 percent renewable electricity — and will track annual progress […]

As part of Apple’s supplier engagement, the company is partnering with its worldwide supply chain to urge accelerated action to achieve carbon neutrality for their Apple-related corporate operations. The company requires reporting on progress towards these goals — specifically Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reductions related to Apple production — and will track and audit annual progress.

Apple will partner with suppliers that are working with urgency and making measurable progress towards decarbonization.

One of Apple’s key requirements is that its 200+ direct suppliers commit to using clean energy such as wind and solar for all Apple production. Today’s press release reports on the commitments made by these suppliers, but not on their progress.

More than 200 suppliers representing more than 70 percent of Apple’s direct manufacturing spend have already committed to using clean power like wind or solar for all Apple production. Major manufacturing partners — including Corning Incorporated, Nitto Denko Corporation, SK hynix, STMicroelectronics, TSMC, and Yuto — have committed to power all Apple production with 100 percent renewable energy.

It’s not uncommon for companies and governments alike to make promises referencing dates that seem comfortably far into the future. It’s also not unusual for these deadlines to pass quietly without hitting the targets. Apple suppliers may have thought that the iPhone maker was just making nice-sounding noises.

With this new focus on enforcement, Apple is putting suppliers on notice that it is 100% serious about its 100% goal, and that if they don’t start working seriously towards it, the Cupertino company will find other suppliers that will.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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