Apple says 175 manufacturing partners commit to renewable energy

Ahead of the UN's COP26 climate summit, Apple also announces new renewable energy projects in South Africa, the Philippines, Colombia and Israel.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read
Apple computers

Apple's set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.

James Martin/CNET

Apple is working with 175 of its suppliers to transition to renewable energy, the company said Wednesday, marking the latest in its efforts to have a net-zero climate impact for every Apple device sold by 2030

The goal is to avoid over 18 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, which Apple said is the equivalent of taking nearly 4 million cars off the road. Apple said its suppliers are achieving these changes in part by bringing online more than 9 gigawatts of clean power around the world, or the equivalent of 18 coal-fired power plants providing energy to more than 6.7 million homes.

"Every company should be a part of the fight against climate change, and together with our suppliers and local communities, we're demonstrating all of the opportunity and equity green innovation can bring," Apple CEO  Tim Cook  said in a statement just before the UN's climate change conference COP26 kicks off in Glasgow, Scotland. "We're acting with urgency, and we're acting together. But time is not a renewable resource, and we must act quickly to invest in a greener and more equitable future."

Apple's long sought to be a leader on environmental issues in the tech industry. Aside from its carbon pledge, the company's published environmental report cards for its products for over a decade. It's also installed solar panels on its facilities and planted additional trees on its campuses.

Read more: COP26 is 'world's best last chance' for climate action. Here's why it's so important

And two years ago, it announced an effort to share technology it's created for its Daisy robot, which methodically deconstructs more than a dozen iPhone models to recycle materials inside. Those recycling efforts and others helped to reduce the carbon footprint of the iPhone 13 Pro by 11%. Apple tallied an 8% reduction for its new 16-inch MacBook Pro as well.

Still, Apple's faced criticism for its strict rules around product repairs. It generally doesn't allow consumers to buy replacement parts for their machines and doesn't publish detailed schematics or diagnostic tools, largely reserving them for authorized technicians. The company's also fought efforts to create "right to repair" laws that would require companies to make tools and service parts available to device owners and independent repair shops.

Beyond Apple's internal environmental efforts, the company said that some of its suppliers, like STMicroelectronics in Europe, have adopted renewable energy programs beyond the work they do for the iPhone maker.

Apple said it's also working with renewable projects outside the tech industry, including solar power development in the US with the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority, formed by six Sioux tribes to develop tribal renewable energy resources.

"The new projects we're sharing will help communities by developing new local renewable projects," Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said in a statement.

Watch this: The biggest announcements from Apple's October 2021 event