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Today, Apple announced the release of the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple iPhone 15. But what was different yet great about this release was the amount of time allotted to provide users an update on its sustainability posture and progress toward achieving their goals for 2030.

Apple Watch Series 9 is the first ever 100% carbon neutral product.

The company has thoroughly assessed its operations and production line to identify three key areas where improvements to be made: Materials, Electricity and Transportation.

Apple Watch Series 9, Sport Loop Made From 82% Recycled Yarn

Materials

Within Materials, there is a much lower carbon footprint and impact on the environment when using recycled products rather than virgin materials. Hence, the Apple Watch Series 9 will be made from 100% recycled aluminium, as well as 100% recycled Cobalt in the Battery. Gold, Tin, Copper, Tungsten is also from recycled sources.

No longer will Apple be using Leather across any of their products. The production of Leather can have devastating impact on the environment including deforestation for farmlands as well as CO2 emissions and water usage from farmed livestock, chemical use for leather tanning, and not to mention the tonnes of leather waste from offcuts every year.

Electricity

Utilising green energy isn’t anything new for Apple as they have had a major focus on shifting to renewable sources to power offices, storefronts and Data Centres since 2015. They have also invested heavily into projects like its solar installation in central California.

It was announced that 300 of Apples suppliers have committed to using 100% green energy in the production of inputs and materials, assembly into all Apple products by 2030. Often companies can greenwash their statements when they place zero carbon targets on themselves and intentionally forget to acknowledge their supply chain. Apple have done the thing right here and looked at the full end to end supply chain and partnerships which should be the baseline approach for all companies with Sustainability goals.

What is interesting about this release is they have somehow calculated the amount of energy an Apple Watch Series 9 will use in its lifetime, aggregated that amount across all its many watch wearers and will off set that energy usage by investing into more renewable energy projects. Unfortunately there wasn’t any detail into how this was calculated or the planned projects in the works.

Transportation

One of the biggest announcements stated to reduce their impact when transporting Apple products is choosing low carbon shipping modes like ocean-freight rather than air as it can reduce emissions by 1/20th.

Packaging was another area for opportunity. The company will use Fibre based packaging over plastics as it can be produced from recycled waste, is biodegradable and compostable. So overall a much environmentally friendly material alternative. They also reduced the size of their packaging which resulted in 25% more watches per trip.

https://www.apple.com/au/environment/pdf/Apple_Environmental_Progress_Report_2023.pdf

In Summary

Apple have done a great job here really breaking down the production line end to end finding best areas of opportunity that will have the most positive impact. This is can be difficult enough in a small organisation let alone the biggest company in history. As Lisa stated in the release, through this exercise of change they have reduced their emissions across materials, electricity and transportation by a whopping 78%! The remaining 22% is offset through by credits in other initiatives that support forest and wetland growth.

Like for the most years of Apple history they take they lead, through clear direction, innovation and experimentation, and placing audacious goals upon themselves. This isn’t a green washing exercise to rebrand itself as ‘the good corporation’. Its evident the company is and will continue to invest heavily into their sustainable goals and they great thing is that they are getting results. Often have we seen companies make promises but cant back it up. Its promising to see Apple reach 100% carbon neutrality across all its products.

To read more about Apple 2030 and Sustainability Goals click here: https://www.apple.com/au/environment/

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