You probably know 101 things about Apple and its products, but did you know that it was ranked number eight in the Top 10 Greenest Companies in the United States for 2017(1)? This achievement is an impressive feat considering there are over eight million registered businesses in America, and only seven are considered more environmentally friendly than Apple. So, the big question is, how did the tech conglomerate achieve this?
Reason 1: Apple Has Managed To Run Entirely on Self-Sustaining Renewable Energy
When the 2018 Environmental Responsibility Reportwas released, the most significant announcement that stole the show was the news that Apple had attained its environmental friendliness target (2). The company had set a goal to use 100% renewable energy in all its company operations across 43 countries by the end of 2017. And they achieved it.
This objective, set and implemented over a decade, was implemented in phases. The most significant was the construction of multiple solar and wind farms to sustain its retail stores, corporate offices, and data centers, particularly at its Apple Park campus.
Reason 2: Dealing Only With Suppliers Using 100% Clean Energy
Getting all its in-house operations to run on renewable energy was just a part of Apple’s equation to achieve carbon neutrality in under a decade. The other is its suppliers. Given that most of Apple’s manufacturing procedures are outsourced to various thirdparties, the company has achieved success by convincing them to switch to clean energy.
According to a list of suppliers published by Apple, its top 200 suppliers today use green energy (3). The report concludes that less than 2% of its procurement expenses paid for manufacturing, materials, and product assembly suppliers to firms that are yet to conform to the company’s green energy initiative.
Reason 3: Manufacturing Devices With Built-In Energy Efficiency
Apple boasts of some remarkable buildings like the Apple Park campus, a design and architectural marvel that runs on 100% clean energy. But how powerefficient are its gadgets and devices? When Apple resolved to become more environmentally friendly, it invested money in the research and development of power-efficient devices.
Today’s iMac, the company’s most power-hungry consumer device, uses only 0.9 watts of electricity while in sleep mode, a whopping 97% less than what the first iMac used. An iPhone X costs roughly 52 cents to charge from empty to full. These stats show Apple has made huge strides in developing more energy-efficient strategies to combat climate change.
Reason 4: Zero Waste to Landfill Initiative
Apple realized its effort to reduce its carbon footprint to zero would take a lot more than addressing power matters. That’s why they came up with the Zero Waste to Landfill initiative, a project to ensure that none of its products end up in a waste landfill. By the end of 2018, all of Apple’s assembly sites for consumer devices, including iPhones, AirPods, iPads, HomePods, and Apple Watches, were certified as Zero Waste to Landfill (4).
This initiative’s success means Apple achieved its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by putting people and the environment first. The report estimates that the Zero Waste to Landfill initiative has diverted as much as one million tons of garbage to safer disposal over three years.
Reason 5: Clean Water Program
Another way that Apple managed to make a difference in environmental conservation was through its clean water program, an initiative that saw it partner with suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Apple’s clean water program expanded to 116 suppliers, resulting in 7.6 billion gallons of water saved in 2018 — one gallon for every person on the planet,” the company’s report reads.
Based on the report, the initiative averted the release of an estimated 466,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas in 2018 alone.
Reason 6: Conserving Precious Resources With Closed-Loop Supply Chain
Apple’s hardware products, including iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, just like any other tech product, use natural materials such as cobalt, tungsten, and gold. One way the company is conserving the environment is by recognizing that these resources are finite and are at risk of being overmined.
As a solution, in 2017, Apple adopted a closed-loop supply chain to make use of recycled sources of these materials first. Ultimately, the company foresees a future where mining the Earth for these materials will stop altogether.
The story of how Apple became one of the greenest companies in America is an inspiring tale of a company’s commitment to conservation and succeeding at it. These six strategies the company used, along with others not listed, have been a great success in establishing the company as a leader in clean innovation. Check out the other Top 10 Green Companies of 2017 (5).
It’s amazing how big entities make an effort into consuming energy and sourcing energy sources. Recently, the Governor of New York even permanently banned fracking to protect the environment as well as the health of the state’s residents.