Apple’s supply chain is responsible for the majority of the Company’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Apple reported today that its clean energy suppliers had more than doubled in the last year. They helped to prevent 13.9 million metric tones of carbon dioxide pollution from entering the atmosphere by supporting renewable energy projects. According to the corporation, this is equivalent to removing 3 million cars off the road for a year.
It’s part of Apple’s plan to become carbon-neutral by 2030, in order to combat global warming. The company’s 2020 climate pledge committed it to reducing greenhouse emissions by 75 % this decade and finding strategies to decrease the remaining pollution.
Unlike other firms who have only vowed to eliminate pollution from their direct operations and electricity consumption, Apple has promised to reduce emissions through its supply chains as well as from its consumers’ use of the products.
Because indirect emissions account for the majority of the company’s carbon impact, this will be the biggest boost by far. In addition to having a greater impact than focusing simply on the company’s operations, reducing supply chain emissions has the added benefit of incentivizing other businesses to do the same. Apple releases an annual list of its top suppliers, who receive roughly 98 % of the money spent on materials, production, and assembly by the company. Apple’s list of firms who have pledged to producing Apple goods using “100% clean electricity” globally includes about 60% of those big suppliers. Similar pledges have been made by dozens more smaller suppliers.
However, claims of using “100% clean electricity” aren’t so clear. Although Apple stated in 2018 that it has switched to 100 percent renewable energy, this does not mean that its shops and offices were entirely powered by wind and solar energy. Most grids simply do not have enough renewable energy capacity, and are not connected to distribute it to any single client on a consistent basis.
As a result, businesses frequently purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from energy providers to offset their filthy electricity usage. RECs represent the environmental advantages of renewable energy projects. Apple and its suppliers both purchase these credits. In 2021, just under 80% of its renewable energy “procurement” was spent on purchasing renewable energy from providers. Another 8% was made up of RECs. Direct investments in new renewable energy projects accounted for another 10% of procurement attempts. And 3% of the money went to renewable energy generated on-site at a supplier’s facility.
According to an update on the program released today, Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy Program purchased credits equivalent to 360,000 metric tones of carbon emissions to “address a slight increase in its carbon footprint.”