The promises of carbon neutrality made by major high-tech groups are often biased. Imagining that a giant like Apple could manufacture and sell hundreds of millions of iPhones, Macs, AirPods and iPads every year without impacting the planet and its ecosystems is clearly a decoy, even if it is the message that the brand tries to pass. Nevertheless, seeking to achieve ambitious objectives still obliges these companies to reduce their emissions in practice, and to make investments favorable to the energy transition.
This is what we see at Apple which, after having achieved — according to its calculations — carbon neutrality for all its scope 1 activities (which includes the greenhouse gases emitted directly by the company), is concentrating now on scopes 2 (production) and 3 (services and similar), including suppliers and partners.
Certainly, despite its promises of totally neutral global production in 2030, from Vietnam to Brazil, the manufacture of an iPhone will always have a carbon cost (not to mention other pollution) that the company will have to compensate for (through highly questionable carbon credits). This nevertheless obliges it to impose more ambitious emission reduction standards on its suppliers and to undertake large-scale “green growth” projects.
Objective of 100% low carbon energy on the production side
We learn that Apple suppliers will now have to provide evidence of their progress in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in scopes 1 and 2, and that they will be audited each year. A constraint which is added to the obligation to use (or rather to buy) 100% renewable energy to cover the electricity bill corresponding to the manufacture of the products hit with an apple.
Rules that seem to have real beneficial effects since, according to Apple, more than 200 suppliers (representing 70% of its production partners) have committed to using green electricity from wind or solar farms. In turn, this puts additional pressure on energy suppliers, who must meet demand by increasing their production of renewable energy.
Enough to pull the energy market in the right direction, even if renewable installations also have their share of environmental problems, between soil artificialization, impacts on local ecosystems and consumption of rare mineral resources.
3000 GWh more renewable energy each year in Europe
In this context, Apple has also just announced massive new investments in Europe for the construction of renewable energy production units. Without providing much more information, the brand says it is ready to financially support new wind and solar projects on the Old Continent, with the aim of adding a capacity of 3000 GWh of “green” energy to the network each year.
His wish? “Supply low-carbon energy to all Apple devices used in Europe”. In other words, the brand intends to calculate the amount of energy needed to recharge all its devices used on the continent and inject just as much renewable energy into the European network. It estimates that 22% of its carbon footprint in Europe comes from charging iPhones, Macs, etc.