As far as being socially and environmentally responsible, the technology giant, Apple, has not had the best track record. In February of 2014, Apple received sharp criticisms from environmentalists because one of the company's suppliers polluted a Chinese river severely enough to change to river water to a milky white color, according to MacWorld. That said, the company is making a renewed commitment to investing in environmentally-friendly programs, especially recently.
In September, Apple announced that it joined the worldwide renewable energy initiative known as RE100. As if that wasn't enough, the company maintained that it is committed to finding and using clean energy throughout every step of its supply chain – Apple wants to make all of it renewable! Lisa Jackson is Vice President of the organization's Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. She reaffirmed the company's dedication to going green in a press release:
"Apple is committed to running on 100 percent renewable energy, and we're happy to stand beside other companies that are working toward the same effort," she said. "We're excited to share the industry-leading work we've been doing to drive renewable energy into the manufacturing supply chain, and look forward to partnering with RE100 to advocate for clean-energy policies around the world."
Apple has operations all over the world, and according to the company's press release, locations in 23 different countries use 100 percent renewable energy already. Last year, an overwhelming majority of the company's operations (93 percent) were powered using renewable energy.
Sustainability at the supplier level
The tech giant has invested in clean energy products already. In Arizona, the company just completed the construction of a solar panel farm that powers a global command data center. But company professionals have maintained that Apple is committed to helping more than just its own operations succeed at going green.
In fact, Apple has made an effort to help its major suppliers transition to sources of renewable energy. Solvay Specialty Polymers is the maker of iPhone antenna parts, and has pledged to utilize power only from renewable energy sources when it produces supplies for Apple by the year 2018.That supplier company includes 14 different manufacturing centers located in 8 countries all over the world.
Another manufacturer that makes parts for iPhones, Catcher Technology, also pledged to use 100-percent renewable energy as of 2018. That translates to the company reducing its carbon emissions by nearly 600,000 metric tons every year.
These are only a couple of the ways Apple is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint. The amount of clean energy accounted for by all Apple suppliers that have made commitments to manufacturing products using renewable energy equates to more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours each and every year. That is roughly the amount of electricity it would take to power more than 1 million homes in the country of China.
Not all working parts of Apple are as committed to renewable energy
Apple's global supply chain is responsible for nearly 77 percent of the company's carbon dioxide emissions. But because Apple does not own (or directly manage) all of them, some of the suppliers are not helping efforts to reach the goal of using only forms of renewable energy. Emily Farnworth is a member of the nonprofit organization known as The Climate Group (the group that is directing the RE100 initiative). She explained the distinction to Mashable:
"So Apple can say, if you're using iTunes, that's from 100 percent renewable electricity, but they can't necessarily say the same for your Macbook Air," she said.
While Apple may not be able to boast of 100 percent use of renewable energy yet, the company's popularity is enough to help spread the awareness of sustainable solutions in the corporate environment. The organization can continue to make a positive impact on climate change if it continues to look for ways to be a leader in corporate sustainability.