Apple has released its 2016 Environmental Responsibility Report, covering fiscal year 2015 with details on the company’s efforts toward becoming more eco-friendly throughout its operations. The report highlights three priorities that Apple has focused on to maximize its positive environmental impact, including using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in the company’s products and facilities, conserving precious natural resources, and leading in the use of safer materials in both its products and its manufacturing processes.
The report notes that as of January 2016, ninety-three percent of the electricity used at Apple’s facilities around the world comes from renewable energy sources, with 100 percent renewable energy used in 23 countries, including the United States, and at every one of Apple’s data centers used for its services such as iCloud, iMessage, and Siri, so that use of these services by users has little to no environmental impact. According to the report, Apple has also reduced its carbon footprint at its facilities by 64 percent in the past five years, avoiding over one million metric tons of carbon emissions by focusing on more efficiently manufacturing processes for materials such as aluminum. The report also explains how Apple has worked to make its consumer products more energy efficient, exceeding industry specifications in many cases, noting that the Mac mini is 7x more efficient than basic Energy Star requirements, and that an iPhone 6s should only cost $0.53 per year in the U.S. to be fully charged once per day.
Apple has also worked to conserve resources, with the report highlighting that more than 89 million pounds of e-waste was diverted from landfills in 2015, and introducing a new line of robots that can quickly disassemble iPhones and sort components for recycling, reducing the number of new resources that have to be mined from the earth. The company’s recycling push has recovered more than $40 million in gold from its used devices, according to Business Insider. Over 99 percent of product packaging last year also came from paper that was either recycled or sourced from sustainably managed forests, and Apple has partnered with The Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund to protect sustainably managed working forests in the U.S. and transition forests in China into responsible management.
A new Full Material Disclosure program was also introduced in 2015 that allows Apple to track the chemical composition of every material in every component of its products, so that the company can improve its effectiveness in removing toxins such as arsenic, PVC, brominated flame retardants, and phthalates from Apple products, removing the impact not only in the products themselves, but also in the manufacturing process, where employees who make, use, and recycle producers may be impacted.