Apple Partners With Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re for Renewable Energy Projects in Illinois and Virginia

Apple is partnering up with Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re to develop two new wind and solar energy farms in Illinois and Virginia, the companies announced today.

The new energy projects are set to generate 290 megawatts for the PJM electric grid in the Eastern United States, covering areas like Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

A solar farm in China

As a collective, the companies plan to purchase 125 megawatts from a wind farm near Chicago and 165 megawatts from a solar PV project outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The wind and solar energy farms will support each of the companies' operations in those states and will also offer up enough power for 74,000 homes.

According to the press release announcing the initiative, Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re previously had "limited opportunity" for energy projects in this market, but were able to obtain wind and solar power at competitive prices thanks to the collaboration with Apple.

Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson had this to say about the partnership:
"At Apple, we're proud to power all of our operations around the world with 100 percent renewable energy. In the process, we've charted a course for other companies and organizations to purchase renewable energy and transition their own operations to greener power. The collaboration announced today shows how companies of all sizes can address climate change by coming together."
The renewable energy projects are set to come online over the course of the next two years.

Apple earlier this year announced that all of its global facilities, including retail stores, offices, data centers, and more, are powered with 100 percent clean energy, a milestone Apple worked towards for years.

Apple has now turned its focus to encouraging its suppliers to focus on sustainability, and more than 20 have now committed to using renewable energy sources.


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Apple Announces New $300 Million Clean Energy Fund in China

Apple today announced the launch of a $300 million investment fund in China which is designed to connect Apple's suppliers with renewable energy sources.

Apple, along with 10 initial suppliers, is investing $300 million into the China Clean Energy Fund over the course of the next four years. Apple says the fund will invest in and develop clean energy projects totaling more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy in China, which is equivalent to powering close to 1 million homes.


Apple's new fund will be managed by DWS Group, a company that specializes in sustainable investments. DWS also plans to invest in the fund.
"At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. "We're thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet."
According to Apple, the China Clean Energy Fund will provide participates with the advantage of greater purchasing power and the ability to attain "more attractive and diverse" clean energy solutions.

Participating suppliers include Catcher Technology, Compal Electronics, Corning Incorporated, Golden Arrow, Jabil, Luxshare-ICT, Pegatron, Solway, Sunway Communication, and Wistron.

Apple earlier this year announced that all of its facilities around the world are powered by 100 percent renewable energy, a milestone achievement for the company.

To hit that goal, Apple invested in and constructed renewable energy facilities around the world, including solar arrays, wind farms, biogas fuel cells, micro-hydration generation systems, and other energy storage technologies.

Since the launch of its Supplier Clean Energy Program in 2015, 23 manufacturing partners across 10 countries have committed to powering their Apple production lines with 100 percent clean energy.


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Apple Shares 2018 Environmental Report With Details on Daisy Recycling Robot, Progress on Closed-Loop Supply Chain

Apple today shared its 2018 environmental report [PDF], outlining all of the improvements and changes that were implemented throughout 2017 and early 2018 to lessen the company's overall environmental impact.

As was announced earlier this month, Apple recently hit a major milestone and longtime environmental goal, with 100 percent of its operations around the world powered by renewable energy. Apple has also convinced 23 of its suppliers to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy so far.

A map of Apple's renewable energy projects

These efforts allowed Apple to cut down on its total carbon footprint in 2017. During the year, Apple was responsible for 27.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, down from 29.5 million metric tons in 2016.

A breakdown of Apple's carbon footprint

Through its unwavering commitment to renewable energy, improvements to energy efficiency, and a reduction in emissions from aluminum manufacturing, Apple has reduced emissions by 54 percent worldwide since 2011, and as of 2018, 66 percent of the renewable energy Apple procures comes from Apple's own projects.

Over the course of 2017, Apple worked to implement energy efficiency improvements to its facilities around the world, including Apple retail stores. Upgrades were made to LED lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, resulting in an overall electricity savings of 3.7 million kilowatt-hours per year.


Apple's overall energy footprint was reduced by 14.7 million kWh and 225,000 therms in fiscal 2017, and combined with other efficiency measures implemented since 2011, Apple cumulatively saves 70 million kWh of electricity and 2.4 million therms of natural gas per year. The company has also worked directly with its suppliers to audit facilities and find opportunities for better energy efficiency, with the program saving an annualized 320,000 metric tons of C02e from entering the atmosphere in 2017.

Today's environmental report highlights Apple's newest recycling robot, Daisy. Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour, removing and sorting components more efficiently than Apple's previous recycling robot, Liam. Daisy removes and sorts components from the iPhone, allowing Apple to collect more materials than it would get from traditional recycling methods.

Daisy has a smaller footprint than Liam and can disassemble multiple models of iPhone with higher variation compared to the earlier robot. Using Daisy, Apple was able to make progress towards its goal of creating products without mining materials from the earth, aka the closed loop supply chain that it announced as a goal in 2017.


Apple says that in 2017, it invited "key stakeholders" to small "closed-door roundtables" in Europe, the U.S., and China to get targeted feedback on its closed-loop supply chain ambitions. Apple spoke with academics, NGOs, industry leaders, and other companies.

The company has also been investing in research to figure out the barriers to implementing a closed-loop system, and it has been launching pilot programs to determine possible solutions. Apple outlines several materials and programs it's currently focusing on, including aluminum (sourced from old iPhones), cobalt (battery scrap is now shipped to a recycler), copper (reducing copper usage on PCBs), glass (new reuse and reprocess methods), paper (sustainable forests), plastics (aiming to eliminate plastics), rare earth elements (exploring new recycling technologies), steel (increasing recycled content), and tungsten (recovered from the Taptic Engine and sent to specialty recycler).

Apple's main accomplishment in 2017 was the use of 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on the main logic board in the iPhone 6s. Recycled tin is now being used for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

For those interested, Apple's full environmental report [PDF] goes into much greater detail on landfill usage, water usage, dangerous materials, recycling, product efficiency, and more, and it's well worth reading if you want to brush up on Apple's environmental protection efforts.


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Apple Debuts New iPhone Disassembly Robot Daisy and GiveBack Environmental Program

Ahead of Earth Day on Sunday, Apple today announced a few initiatives that support the company's commitment to the environment, including its goal of making its products using only recycled or renewable materials.

Apple's new iPhone disassembly robot Daisy

First, for every device traded in or recycled at Apple Stores or on Apple.com worldwide between today and April 30, the company will make a donation of an undisclosed amount to the non-profit environmental organization Conservation International, which has worked to protect the nature in more than 30 countries.

Second, Apple introduced a new iPhone disassembly robot named Daisy as an improved version of Liam, its first disassembly robot launched in 2016. Daisy is located in Austin, Texas, with a second robot coming to Breda, Netherlands.
Daisy is made from some of Liam's parts and is capable of disassembling nine versions of iPhone and sorting their high-quality components for recycling. Daisy can take apart up to 200 iPhone devices per hour, removing and sorting components, so that Apple can recover materials that traditional recyclers can't — and at a higher quality.
Apple's environmental chief Lisa Jackson:
At Apple, we're constantly working toward smart solutions to address climate change and conserve our planet's precious resources. In recognition of Earth Day, we are making it as simple as possible for our customers to recycle devices and do something good for the planet through Apple GiveBack. We're also thrilled to introduce Daisy to the world, as she represents what's possible when innovation and conservation meet.
Apple will also release its annual Environment Report today, detailing the company's environmental progress in three priority areas: reducing its carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, conserving precious resources, and pioneering the use of safer materials in its products and processes.

Last week, Apple announced its global facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy, including its retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities across the United States and 42 other countries.

Last, Apple Watch owners today will receive a notification about an Earth Day activity challenge, as we revealed earlier this week. To earn the badge, users will have to complete any workout for 30 minutes or longer on April 22.


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Apple Opposes Proposed Repeal of Clean Power Plan in United States

Apple has formally objected the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan in the United States.


In a letter submitted to the agency today, Apple said repealing the policy would subject the company and its manufacturing partners to increased investment uncertainty in relation to clean energy, according to Reuters.
"Repealing the Clean Power Plan will subject consumers like Apple and our large manufacturing partners to increased investment uncertainty," the California-based company said in a filing to the agency.

Apple, which says it runs its U.S. operations fully on renewable energy such as wind and solar power, added that repeal of the plan would also threaten development and investments that have already been made in renewable power.
The EPA proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan in October 2017 after U.S. President Donald Trump mandated a review of the Obama-era environmental policy, which would have required U.S. power plants to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Apple is the first company to publicly comment on the proposed repeal, which has yet to proceed due to legal challenges, according to the report. The policy's elimination is said to remain a priority of the EPA's administrator Scott Pruitt.

Apple's environmental website notes that 100 percent of the electricity the company uses to power its data centers, and 96 percent used by its facilities worldwide, comes from renewable energy sources like solar, hydro, and wind power. Many of Apple's suppliers have also committed to using 100 percent renewable energy.

Apple's environmental chief Lisa Jackson served as the EPA's administrator between 2009 and 2013 as part of the Obama administration.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Greenpeace Gives Apple a B- in ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’

Greenpeace today published its Guide to Greener Electronics, which provides insight into the environmental practices of 17 major companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, and more.

Among all of the companies Greenpeace evaluated for energy, resource consumption, and chemicals, Apple received the second best marks, trailing behind only Fairphone, a device designed with minimal environmental impact in mind.


Apple was lauded for its commitment to renewable energy and reducing supply chain emissions and its efforts to be transparent about the chemicals that are used in its products.

According to Greenpeace, Apple is the only company to have set a renewable energy goal for its supply chain, and several of its suppliers have already committed to using 100 percent renewable energy.

Apple is also committed to renewable energy at its own facilities and is ultimately aiming for a closed-loop supply chain. As for chemicals, Apple is one of two companies (along with Google) that have eliminated all brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride.

Apple's overall Greenpeace "grade" was a B-, but broken down, the company received an A- for the aforementioned environmental efforts, a B for chemicals, and a C for resources, due in large part to the lack of repairability of its devices and its use of proprietary parts.

Apple continues to design products with proprietary parts to limit access and actively lobbies against right to repair legislation in New York and Nebraska.

It is reported that Apple and Sony have blocked attempts to strengthen environmental electronics standards that would encourage device designs that are easier to repair, upgrade, and disassemble for recycling.
Greenpeace has previously targeted Apple in a repairability campaign to combat planned obsolescence, accusing Apple's difficult-to-repair devices of shortening device lifespan and leading to more electronic waste. Apple is not likely to make changes to the way its devices are manufactured to make them easier for third-parties to repair, but its efforts towards a closed-loop supply chain could eventually result in far less waste.

Earlier this year, in Greenpeace's annual green report, Apple was ranked the most environmentally friendly technology company in the world. That report focused on factors like energy transparency, energy efficiency, renewable energy commitment, and advocacy.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple Shares Meticulous Steps Taken to Ensure iPhone Packaging is Environmentally Friendly

Apple has shared a new Paper and Packaging Strategy white paper, outlining steps the company takes to reduce its paper impact by using paper more efficiently, sourcing it responsibly, and protecting or creating sustainable working forests.

iPhone 7 packaging

To protect the environment for the future, Apple said three priorities guide its efforts:

1. Reduce impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in products and facilities.

2. Conserve precious resources by using materials efficiently, using more recycled and renewable content in products, and recovering material from products at the end of their life.

3. Identify, develop, and utilize safer materials in products and processes.

The change in iPhone packaging from iPhone 6s to iPhone 7 illustrates the significant impact of Apple's efforts.


While the iPhone 6s packaging included two stacked plastic trays that hold the device and accessories separately, Apple came up with a new design for the iPhone 7 packaging that allows a single tray to do the work of two. Eliminating the second tray significantly reduced the packaging's material footprint.

Apple's environmental teams also found a fiber-based material that could be used to make the trays, replacing the petroleum-based plastic previously used. The white paper says a similar exploration of new materials and design led to innovations in the EarPods carrier, further reducing the use of materials.

For the iPhone 6s, Apple designed a plastic EarPods carrying case that discreetly wraps the cables and holds the headphones in place. For the iPhone 7, however, Apple developed a more environmentally friendly paperboard-based solution with a set of folds and cuts that secure the EarPods and cable.

These changes contributed to an 84 percent decrease in plastic usage for iPhone 7 packaging compared with iPhone 6s, according to Apple.

For the iPhone 8, Apple even sourced a more environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic wrap that protects the iPhone's wall charger. Apple's white paper reveals the meticulous steps it took to achieve this feat, which involved working directly with a supplier to alter aspects of the manufacturing process.
Finding a fiber alternative proved challenging since fiber naturally expands and contracts with changes in humidity. The significant number of suppliers and locations through which the power adapter wrap would pass made controlling the humidity of the environment impossible. This required Apple to take a very hands-on approach, working directly with the supplier to alter aspects of the manufacturing process to create a fiber wrap that would meet technical needs. While the power adapter wrap is a small piece of the iPhone packaging, it represents a significant amount of material given the number of iPhone units sold.
Ultimately, Apple said it hopes that its program highlights a process for others to take responsibility for their impact on global resources, and work with external stakeholders to protect the environment.


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