Apple Releases New Earth Day Video at Sustainable Brands Event

Apple today shared a new Earth Day 2017 video on its YouTube channel, which comes more than a month after Earth Day took place.

The video, which follows the theme of the previous Earth Day spots Apple released, focuses on Liam, Apple's recycling robot that strips iPhones down to their component parts.


The ad was created by Apple environment lead Lisa Jackson and her team to mark Apple's attendance at Sustainable Brands 2017, a Detroit conference for business leaders committed to brand value creation through sustainability.

Sarah Chandler, Apple's Director of Operations and Environmental Initiatives, was in Detroit to speak at the event, where she talked about Apple's latest pledge to achieve a closed-loop supply chain. Chandler works under Lisa Jackson and is responsible for Apple's effort to use greener materials, conserve finite resources, and reduce the environmental impact of the company's supply chain.


Apple first announced its goal to use 100 percent recycled materials for products ahead of Earth Day, with the publishing of its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report. Apple's eventual goal is to stop mining the earth for rare minerals and metals by focusing more heavily on recycled products.

"We're actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we've figured out how to do it," Lisa Jackson said in April. "So we're a little nervous, but we also think it's really important, because as a sector we believe it's where technology should be going."

Liam, the robot featured in today's extra Earth Day video, will play an important role helping Apple reach its goal. Apple plans to double down on technologies like Liam, as well as put more effort into emphasizing its Apple Renew recycling program.


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Apple Pledges to End Mining and Use 100% Recycled Materials for Products

Just ahead of Earth Day, Apple has released its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report [PDF] with a lofty new goal: ending mining. Apple says the company is working on a "closed-loop supply chain" that would allow it to stop mining the earth for rare minerals and metals.

"One day, we'd like to be able to build new products with just recycled materials, including your old products," Apple says on its updated Environment site. In an interview with VICE, Apple vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson commented on the mining plan, saying "it's where technology should be going."

"We're actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we've completely figured out how to do it," Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple's environmental testing lab on Monday. "So we're a little nervous, but we also think it's really important, because as a sector we believe it's where technology should be going.
Much of what goes into an iPhone isn't recycled, but Apple wants to change that by more aggressively using components taken from old iPhones and combining that with "high quality recycled metals" purchased from suppliers. Apple will double down on investments like Liam, the robot that breaks iPhones down into component parts, and it plans to continue to encourage customers to return products through the Apple Renew recycling program.


While Apple plans to source more of its materials from recycled goods, Jackson says that though a "product that lasts is really important," the company doesn't have plans to make its devices easier to repair to increase longevity.
Jackson also defended Apple's history of making products that are hard to repair. Allowing customers to repair Apple products themselves "sounds like an easy thing to say," she said. But "technology is really complex; it is sophisticated to make it work, to ensure that you have security and privacy, [and] that somebody isn't giving you bad parts."

Because of this, Apple won't be taking a "right to repair" approach to meeting its environmental goals. "All those things mean that you want to have certified repairs," Jackson said.
Other environmental milestones are also outlined in Apple's report. 96 percent of the power used by Apple facilities around the world comes from clean energy sources, and as has been the case for several years, 100 percent of the electricity that powers Apple data centers comes from solar, hydro, and wind energy sources.


Apple now has seven suppliers that have committed to using renewable energy, and the company plans to help suppliers bring 4 gigawatts of renewable power online by 2020.


When it comes to packaging, more than 99 percent of the packaging used for Apple products is responsibly sourced. Virgin paper is sourced from protected sustainable forests, and the company has successfully protected or created enough working forests to cover all of its packaging needs.

Lisa Jackson's full comments on the 2017 environmental report can be read over at VICE, and Apple's full Environmental Responsibility Report, which goes into much more detail on its recycling efforts, packaging, water usage, and carbon footprint, is available here.


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Apple Sees Success With Efforts to Protect Working Forests in North Carolina

Apple's partnership with The Conservation Fund to protect working forests has begun to show returns for both Apple and the state of North Carolina, according to information the organization shared with the Triangle Business Journal.

Apple vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson shared the article covering Apple's conservation efforts on Twitter this afternoon.



Jena Thompson Meredith, vice president of business partnerships at The Conservation Fund, says Apple's purchase of forest land in North Carolina and Maine has protected 36,000 acres of sustainable forest.
In 2016, the group harvested more than 13,000 metric tons of wood between the two forests, she says, though she did not break that number down by state.

She says the collective annual production from the forests in North Carolina and Maine was equivalent to about 30 percent of the virgin fiber used in Apple's product packaging for 2015.
With survey work, site prep, and harvesting and planting, the Brunswick Forest portion of the project has employed more than 30 people in logging operations in North Carolina, resulting in more than 10 jobs per 1,000 acres.

The effort has also protected North Carolina's Green Swamp Preserve, which is home to six rare species, including the Venus flytrap. Across 300 of the the 3,600 acres Apple purchased in North Carolina, The Conservation Fund has planted an additional 185,000 trees. 40 acres of those include the native longleaf pine and the Atlantic white cedar, both of which provide a home to a rare butterfly.

Apple first partnered with The Conservation Fund in April of 2015, purchasing thousands of acres of working forest for its paper supplies.

At the time, Apple said it was aiming to use paper more efficiently by increasing recycled paper content, sourcing paper sustainably, and conserving acreage of working forests around the world equivalent to its virgin paper footprint.

More than 99 percent of Apple's product packaging in 2015 came from paper that was recycled or sourced from sustainably managed forests, according to the company's 2016 environmental report.


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Greenpeace Declares Apple ‘Greenest Tech Company’ For Third Year Running

Greenpeace has declared Apple to be the most environmentally friendly technology company in the world for the third year in a row.

The conclusion was reached in the environmental organization's latest report, entitled Clicking Clean: Who is Winning the Race to Build a Green Internet, which awarded Apple a final 'A' grade and a clean energy index score of 83 percent. Facebook and Google also scored 'A' grades, with clean energy index scores of 67 and 56 percent respectively.

Greenpeace apple energy rating
"Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Switch, we are seeing the tech industry make major strides toward powering the internet with clean energy," Gary Cook, Greenpeace's senior IT analyst, said in a statement.
The report ranked companies on a range of green credentials, from energy transparency and renewable procurement to energy efficiency and mitigation. Nevada-based telecoms company Switch, which develops data centers, was the only company in its sector to be awarded grade A's across the board, with a 100 percent clean energy index.

According to the report, Apple "played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple's corner of the internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy".

Apple, Google, and Facebook pledged in 2012 to commit to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Apple's new Cupertino campus, which is currently under construction, will run entirely on renewable energy, thanks to an estimated 700,000 square feet of solar panels.

Despite the positives in the tech sector, the report highlighted concerns with regards to emerging East Asian internet companies, which lack access to renewables from monopoly utilities in those regions.

"Without key policy changes, the rapid growth of the internet in East Asia will likely be powered by coal and other dirty sources of electricity," the report stated. According to Greenpeace, the north and southeast Asian region is the world's biggest emitter of CO2.


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