Apple’s push for a cleaner and greener Earth has received a big boost after its suppliers doubled their clean power over the last year, the company announced. The renewable energy projects the company supports prevented 13.9 million metric tonne of carbon dioxide pollution from entering the Earth’s atmosphere — the same impact as taking 3 million cars from the road for a year.
“…its suppliers more than doubled their use of clean power over the last year, with over 10 gigawatts operational today out of nearly 16 gigawatts in total commitments in the coming years,” Apple said in a statement.
“In 2021, these renewable projects avoided 13.9 million metric tons of carbon emissions. The projects online today will support greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing 3 million cars from the road for one year.”
These efforts are Apple’s attempts to curb climate change by becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The company’s climate pledge, made in 2020, set it on a path to cut greenhouse emissions by 75% this decade and find ways to lower its remaining climate pollution.
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While other companies have only promised to eliminate pollution from direct operations and electricity use, Apple has pledged to slash emissions from its supply chains and customers’ use of products.
Instead of only focusing on the company’s operations, cutting supply chain emissions has the added bonus of pushing other companies to follow a clean path. Every year, Apple publishes a list of top suppliers, who get 98% of the money it spends on materials, manufacturing, and assembly. About 60% of those suppliers are on the list of companies that have committed to making Apple products using 100% clean electricity. Smaller suppliers have also made similar commitments.
Claims of using 100% clean electricity, however, are not straightforward. In 2018, Apple announced that it had begun using 100% renewable energy. However, that doesn’t mean its stores and offices were running on solar and wind power at all times. Most grids don’t have enough renewable energy capacity to provide that to one customer all the time.
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As a result, companies often buy Renewable Energy Credits from energy providers that represent the environmental benefits of renewable energy projects to offset their dirty electricity use. Apple buys these credits, as do its suppliers.