Apple has released its 2018 Environmental Responsibility Report, outlining the company’s progress throughout fiscal year 2017 in making all of its operations more eco-friendly. While Apple already announced earlier this month that it had accomplished its goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy sources for all of its facilities worldwide, the formal annual report on the company’s environmental initiatives outlines more of what that means, as well as progress that Apple has been making to protect the environment in other facets of its business as well.
In broad terms, the report addresses the company’s efforts in reducing its impact on climate change, conserving precious resources, and pioneering the use of safer materials, noting that it sets “ambitious but measurable goals” in each of these areas. In combating climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, the report notes that “We proved that 100 percent renewable is 100 percent doable” in getting all of the company’s facilities on renewable energy, ranging from solar installations to biogas fuel cells. The report notes that the company’s new Apple Park campus even provides clean energy back to the public grid during periods of low occupancy. Ultimately, the last year saw a reduction in Apple’s carbon footprint — across all its own operations and all of its suppliers — down to 27.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases, a reduction from 29.5 million metric tons in 2016. Apple’s report goes on to explain in much greater detail how the company accomplished these reductions, and efforts that it is still making toward further reductions in a wide variety of clean energy and energy use reduction initiatives, adding that in the latter case the company has been able to reduce the average energy consumed by its products by 68 percent over the past ten years.
In the area of conserving resources, the report talks about rethinking the materials that Apple uses in its products and manufacturing processes, as well as more efficient recycling technologies that the company hopes will lead to the day when it won’t be necessary to mine new resources from the earth at all. The report makes it clear that Apple’s long-term goal continues to be a “closed-loop” supply chain where all products will be made using recycled or renewable materials only. This year’s report highlights Daisy, Apple’s newest disassembly robot, which can take apart up to 200 iPhone devices per hour, automatically removing and sorting components, allowing Apple to recover materials that traditional recycling methods can’t. Apple notes that it plans to install Daisy in multiple locations around the world to process end-of-life iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus that are returned by customers or swapped out via AppleCare.
The full environmental report provides much greater detail on all of these initiatives, along with the company’s progress in areas such as reducing landfill usage, water conservations, improving product efficiency, and focusing on materials that are more environmentally efficient to produce and reduce emissions.