In 2018, Apple will be able to claim that its data centers, distribution centers, retail stores, and corporate offices run on 100% renewable energy. As of January 2020, more than 83 percent of Apple’s renewable energy purchases – equivalent to 1.2 gigawatts – came from projects created by apple.
Currently, the largest category is Apple’s long-term renewable energy contracts. While this means that technically, energy for their companies may come from fossil fuels, a large part of their money is spent on research, development and eventual deployment of local renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind farms.
is the second largest project owned by apple. Apple will build its own renewable energy projects whenever possible. The projects include solar and wind farms, biogas fuel cells and low impact hydraulic projects.
the smallest category is equity investment. When Apple cannot build its own projects, it will use its own funds to invest in renewable energy projects, such as solar photovoltaic farms or wind power projects. This enables companies to become part owners, enabling them to match renewable energy generation with energy use.
it turns out that apple is not satisfied with running on 100% renewable energy. It hopes its suppliers will do the same. About 75% of Apple’s carbon footprint is in its global supply chain. Of these 75%, about 70% of its emissions come from electricity.
in 2019, apple began to step in and encourage its production partners to do the same. Apple’s suppliers are slowly but surely switching to more environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels, such as solar, wind, biomass and hydropower. The company has set a goal that the supply chain will be fully powered by renewable energy by 2030.
now, Apple plans to help the surrounding communities take green steps. In 2019, they launched the “power for impact” project to give local communities and organizations access to cost-effective renewable energy. The project has already started in developing countries where Apple’s energy needs are relatively small, such as the Philippines, where they have installed 100 kilowatts of rooftop solar panels at an educational institution.
Apple also encourages convergence efforts, such as last year’s China Clean Energy Fund. By encouraging buyers to join forces to buy renewable energy, this gives small companies the opportunity to access cost-effective renewable energy that they may not be able to access on their own.
but these are not the only measures Apple has taken. One of Apple’s most interesting moves is to voluntarily withdraw from government subsidized renewable energy projects. Government subsidies are crucial for many companies that want to take the first step in energy efficiency. They can also improve the availability, affordability and effectiveness of renewable energy projects.
However, like many subsidies, government subsidized renewable energy incentives are highly competitive. By removing itself from the “pool” of competing companies, apple offers other companies an opportunity to take the first step towards becoming more environmentally friendly.
according to Apple’s 2020 environmental progress report, its subsidy free 42 MW solar photovoltaic project in Denmark will be put into operation by the end of 2019. The project uses 100% renewable energy to power its new Viborg data center and has been doing so since day one. Apple also encouraged China’s renewable energy market to transition from subsidized on grid tariffs to non subsidized grid connected projects.
Apple’s commitment to offsetting its environmental impact is admirable and has always set high standards for its competitors. Many environmental agencies and advocates are also aware of this.
“Greenpeace USA welcomes Apple’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions to help prevent further catastrophic climate change – which has the greatest impact on black, brown and indigenous communities,” said Elizabeth Jardim, senior corporate evangelist for Greenpeace. “This commitment is a big step forward from what we’ve seen from apple in the past.”
of course, Apple also benefits from these efforts. In addition to the environmental benefits, Apple fans often use their corporate compassion and responsibility as a reason to continue buying from them.