Chief Sustainability Officer
Stock Exchange and Ticker
T: (408) 996–1010
- #68 Best Employers for Veterans (2022)
- #103 World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies (2022)
- #153 Mexico’s Best Employers (2022)
- #5 World’s Best Employers (2022)
- America’s Best Employers By State (2022)
- #350 Best Employers for Women (2022)
- #29 Canada’s Best Employers For Diversity (2022)
- #98 Best Employers for New Grads (2022)
- #7 Global 2000 (2022)
- #63 America’s Best Large Employers (2022)
- #31 Canada’s Best Employers (2022)
- #9 The Halo 100 (2022)
- #182 Best Employers for Diversity (2021)
- #55 America’s Best Employers (2021)
- #3 Just Companies (2021)
- EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award, second year in a row
- A+ rating received from the Mind the Store campaign
- Ranked #1 of 50 retailers on the Mind the Store Retailer Report Card
Apple Sustainability Report
Evaluation of Apple
The business has detailed goals with measurable progress toward them. Its four main topics are climate change, resources, smarter chemistry, and engagement. In terms of climate change policies, we discovered that Apple established the $200M Apple Restore Fund with the aim of removing over 1M metric tons of carbon per year, is carbon neutral as of April 2020, and has reduced emissions by 40% since 2015.
When we examine the resources, we observe that eight products with a minimum of 20% recycled content were released in fiscal 2021. We also see that the use of recycled tungsten and cobalt more than doubled in fiscal 2021, and that certified recycled gold was used in an Apple product for the first time. In addition, all established final assembly and sub-assembly sites for Apple Watch Series 7 send zero waste to landfill, and 75% less plastic is used in packaging across all product lines compared to 2015; the Prineville data center and 17 supplier facilities have been certified by Alliance for Water Stewardship for leading water management practices.
Regarding chemicals, we’d like to thank Apple for its informative reporting on the topic. Highlights from this year’s report after reviewing it 100% of Apple’s final assembly supplier sites have used only safer alternative cleaners and degreasers since 2018; 1000+ parts and material suppliers have been onboarded into the company’s Full Material Disclosure program; 45K+ materials are included in its comprehensive material library; and the company is a founding signatory of CEPN’s Toward Zero Exposure program, which aims to reduce the exposure of electronics workers to hazardous chemicals.
Lastly, the company has the necessary certifications, which increase the transparency of its operations. However, rather than being zero-emission, it aims to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2030. This implies that it will continue to emit a significant amount of CO2. This prompted some people to accuse Apple of greenwashing. However, it has made good strides toward lowering its carbon emissions, particularly since 2015, and is continuing to do so, especially by switching to 100% renewable electricity and recycling materials. Consequently, the overall grade is B.
Apple Company Activity
Apple Inc. (Apple) creates, produces, and sells wearable technology, smartphones, tablets, and personal computers, with a signature design and usability that gained it millions of users worldwide over the last 25 years. Across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific, the company has commercial presence. The US city of Cupertino, California, serves as the home of Apple. (Source: GlobalData).
The iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple Watch, and Apple TV are among Apple’s product lines. It provides a variety of consumer and business software programs, including iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Pay, iOS, macOS, iPadOS, and watchOS.
Through the App Store, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, Apple Card, Apple TV+, and Apple Music, Apple sells and distributes digital content and applications. In addition, the business provides digital content from third parties as well as accessories, software, and related services.
Apple Sustainability Activity - As per company declarations
Apple is committed to demonstrating that business can and should be a force for good. Achieving that takes innovation, collaboration, and a focus on serving others. It also means leading with its values in the technology it makes, the way Apple makes it, and how we treat people and the planet we share. Apple is always working to leave the world better than we found it, and to create powerful tools that empower others to do the same.
Certificate & Labels, Standards and Frameworks
- ISO 14001
- ISO 14021
- ISO 14040/14044
- ISO 14064-3
- ISO 14046-3
- ISO 22810
- ENERGY STAR
- Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification
- UL’s Zero Waste to Landfill certification
- TRUE certification
- Renewable Energy Certificates
- Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
- Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD)
Apple in the news: Press Reviews and Social Media
According to Apple, its manufacturing alone accounts for 70% of its carbon emissions. According to Compare and Recycle, the production of iPhones alone will produce astonishing 17 megatons of CO2 emissions in 2022. Lithium and cobalt mining, for example, have a very real impact on the environment. One ton of lithium requires about 2.2 million liters of water to produce, and this water is frequently taken away from homes and communities that depend on it, having an immediate and significant impact on nearby communities. Mining has a growing human cost on top of its harmful effects on the environment.
These carbon credits are essential to Apple’s ability to achieve many of its environmental objectives. The production of iPhones and other devices is still far from environmentally friendly. Although Apple’s supply chains continue to produce a significant amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, they are theoretically offset by the amount of environmental initiatives they support. Apple can easily achieve its environmental objectives by using carbon credits and other emission-offsetting strategies. Many analysts have, however, questioned whether carbon credits frequently fell short of having the impact on emissions that they promised.
Even Apple has been accused by some of self-greenwashing. Apple is undoubtedly concerned with looking green, but most of its decisions are still influenced by profits. Although the effectiveness of carbon credits is debatable.
Numerous OEMs have been busy promoting their sustainability credentials over the past few months. Compared to the iPhone 13 Pro’s 69kg carbon footprint, the iPhone 14 Pro’s is 65kg. This decrease in carbon emissions is primarily attributable to increased recycling and a more effective supply chain. Refurbished iPhones are a great way to make sure that the significant carbon emissions associated with producing a new iPhone are distributed over more than one life of the product.
Apple will monitor and check the carbon emissions of its major manufacturing partners. Since 2020, the company has been carbon neutral, and it plans to maintain this standard throughout its entire supply chain. It may be difficult for Apple to leave the world better than they found it because global CO2 emissions have more than doubled since the company’s founding. Apple has revealed three brand-new initiatives for the Restore Fund. The business is engaged in building substantial solar and wind energy projects in Europe. Apple and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are collaborating in Namibia and Zimbabwe to advance climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods.
22% of its carbon footprint is attributable to the energy used over the course of its products’ lives. As a result, Apple keeps trying to make its products use less energy. The business recently revealed that it has increased the amount of clean power used in its supply chain by twofold. The business is currently working to create a closed-loop manufacturing system. This indicates that new products are produced using more environmentally friendly methods from older ones. Apple has also altered the way it packages its products, choosing renewable forests over plastic.
One of the most pressing environmental issues right now is e-waste. Products like smartphones and laptops continue to rely heavily on rare minerals like cobalt, which must be mined from the earth and are frequently extracted using dubious labor practices. All of this is a part of “closing the loop,” a strategy used in the “circular economy” to explore a resource’s full potential through systems of recycling and reuse. As per Jackson, Apple is already considering how to use this model. In artisanal mining, workers use their own equipment and resources to work independently without being formally employed by a company. This method of mining is regarded as being extremely hazardous for the environment and the workers themselves.
Apple aspires to be the industry leader not only in terms of material sourcing but also in terms of material recycling and reuse. Some of these materials are rare because they are rare and valuable. We only have one planet and one set of resources, so we must all use them as effectively and practically as we can, Jackson says. “Apple is happy to take on the leadership role here, but it’s incumbent on all of us to enable material to be reused and recycled.” Apple published a report on conflict minerals earlier this year, outlining the company’s “commitment to responsible sourcing” despite the fact that the case is still pending. When questioned directly about the use of materials from the DRC and concerns over labor practices, Jackson expresses a similar sentiment. She explains, “We’ve been investing in our supplier responsibility program, which has been recognized as a global leader in ethical labor and environmental practices and has received awards from the UN, Europe, and others.” Apple wants to go above and beyond that, becoming the industry leader not only in the sourcing of materials but also in their recycling and reuse.
- Extra Information
Apple was also negatively involved in 2020 Belarusian protests against president Alexander Lukashenko, November 2022 protests about COVID-19 in China, 2019 Hong-Kong protests, 2019 Crimea crisis and 2021 Russian legislative election.
Highlights from Apple Sustainability Report
- By switching to recycled and low-carbon aluminum, carbon emissions associated with aluminum have decreased by 68 percent since 2015
- Apple’s facilities energy use was reduced by 15.7 million kilowatthours through efficiency efforts implemented in fiscal year 2021
- Suppliers in the Supplier Energy Efficiency program avoided more than 1,150,000 annualized metric tons of supply chain carbon emissions in fiscal year 2021
- Apple-created renewable sources account for over 90 percent of the renewable electricity the facilities use
- Apple, alongside other partners, helped the Suzhou Industrial Park become the first industrial park in the world to earn Alliance for Water Stewardship certification
- 100+ Apple supplier facilities are zero waste verified
- 2M+ metric tons of waste redirected from landfill by supplier facilities as part of Apple’s Zero Waste Program
- In 2021, Apple and UL co-developed the firstever supply chain zero waste management system assurance program, which allows for third-party zero waste verification at a systems level rather than site level. The new assurance procedure significantly accelerates the verification process and establishes a new model that companies across industries can employ to verify zero waste programs at scale
- 92 Apple buildings worldwide are LEED or BREEAM certified for environmental performance
- Apple has generated or sourced 100 percent renewable electricity for its corporate operations since 2018
Weaknesses and Setbacks
- Insufficient or absent efforts to promote health, quality education, gender equality, and the reduction of inequalities
- Apple was a part of countless controversies
Targets vs Progress Reported
|Achieve carbon neutrality for their entire carbon footprint by 2030, and reach their science based emissions reduction target||- 10,466 reduction in metric tons of CO2 in Scope 1 in FY 2021 compared to FY2020
- No Scope 2 emission in FY21
- By switching to recycled and low-carbon aluminum, their carbon emissions associated with aluminum have decreased by 68 percent since 2015
|Create products with net zero carbon impact by 2030||- Net emissions remained stable compared to FY20|
|Transition their entire product supply chain to 100% renewable electricity by 2030||- 274 million kWh increase in renewable electricty|
|Use only recycled and renewable materials in their products and packaging, and enhance material recovery||- Increase in use of recycled or renewable content to 18 percent of all the material shipped in products in fiscal year 2021|
|Eliminate plastics in their packaging by 2025||- 75% less plastic in packaging compared with 2015
- No outer plastic wrap was used in iPhone 13 packaging
|Reduce water impacts in the manufacturing of the products, use of the services, and operation of the facilities||- The Prineville data center and 17 supplier facilities have been certified by Alliance for Water Stewardship for leading water management practices|
|Eliminate waste sent to landfill from their corporate facilities and their suppliers||- 240 metric tonnes decrease in hazardous waste
- All established final assembly and sub-assembly sites for Apple Watch Series 7 send zero waste to landfill
|Drive comprehensive reporting of chemicals used in their supply chain to make their products||- 1000+ manufacturing partner facilities shared how chemicals are used and safely managed
- 1000+ parts and material suppliers have been onboarded into Apple’s Full Material Disclosure program
- 45K+ materials included in our comprehensive material library
|Integrate smarter chemistry innovation into the way we design and build their products||- 100% of their final assembly supplier sites have used only safer alternative cleaners and degreasers since 2018
- 1000 new materials evaluated for biocompatibility in fiscal year 2021
- Founding signatory of CEPN’s Toward Zero Exposure program to help eliminate electronics workers’ exposure to hazardous chemicals
|Avoid exposure to chemicals that could be harmful to human health or the environment||- Safer Choice Partner of the Year award from the EPA for the second consecutive year|
- A+ rating received from the Mind the Store campaign
- Ranked #1 of 50 retailers on the Mind the Store Retailer Report Card