Apple has an advantage over its competitors in the fight against climate change

A new report compares climate initiatives from Apple, Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft and Nvidia. Apple is far from perfect, but according to today’s report, the company is leading the way so far.

It is the only company among the six technology giants that has set targets for its suppliers to switch to sustainable energy. “Other brands need to send similarly clear signals to their suppliers,” Gary Cook, director of global climate policy at the nonprofit Stand.earth, which published the report, said in a press release.

To be fair, a completely separate report published last week by another environmental group casts some doubt on Apple’s recent carbon-neutral claims. However, Stand.earth’s new report puts Apple’s broader climate initiatives into perspective by examining several tech companies at once.

“Other brands need to send similarly clear signals to their suppliers.”

Big Tech produces 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than aviation. The new Stand.earth report published today includes recommendations for companies to keep that pollution in check.

Crucially, companies must be more strategic about the way they purchase renewable energy. Most electricity grids do not yet have enough solar and wind farms online to achieve companies’ goals of becoming climate neutral. Many of them, including Apple, are instead purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) intended to support clean energy projects. But this financial incentive is often not enough to actually bring more renewable energy online, especially if RECs are unbundled. To change that, Apple, Google and Microsoft have strategies to get more renewable energy into the local grids where they operate.

Additionally, the report says tech companies need to work more closely together to combat climate change. “There remains a substantial lack of meaningful collaboration and joint action among sector leaders,” the report says. They could use their collective power to advocate for policies that promote clean energy adoption, for example.

And of course, supply chain emissions are still a sensitive issue across the board. The largest part of a company’s carbon footprint is often its suppliers. Apple has said it aims to be carbon neutral across its entire operations and supply chain by the end of this decade. The company’s suppliers have more than doubled their clean energy supply between 2021 and 2022. This year, about 300 suppliers committed to using only clean energy to make Apple products by 2030. Their pledges helped Apple make its first announcement of carbon-neutral gadgets last month: “select” combinations of cases and bands for the Apple Watch.

Apple still needs to be more transparent about its supply chain emissions

“While Apple may be too quick to claim that their products are ‘carbon neutral,’ they are the only ones both setting a strong example in how they are transitioning their own operations away from fossil fuels and working aggressively to bring their suppliers into the marketplace. a path that will consist of 100% renewable energy sources by 2030,” said Cook.

Despite that progress, Apple still needs to be more transparent about emissions from its supply chain, according to the separate report published last week by the nonprofit Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE). According to the report, Apple this year stopped asking its suppliers to disclose their emissions.

“Since Apple’s suppliers do not publicly disclose their data on clean energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, how can it be publicly verified that the manufacturing process for the three carbon-neutral Apple Watch products uses 100 percent clean electricity?” asks IPE.

The edge contacted each of the companies in the report. “We will continue to advocate and share our rigorous, science-based approach to decarbonizing our products – working closely with our suppliers and with third-party validation – as a way to drive further progress across the industry,” Apple said spokesman Sean Redding. in an email to The edge.

Nvidia director of corporate communications Liz Archibald said in an email that the company “consistently engages suppliers to evaluate additional initiatives and enable further emissions reductions across the supply chain.” Other companies did not immediately respond or declined to comment on the record.

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