Apple just bought a forest 2.5 times the size of Manhattan


Photo: Whitney Flanagan, The Conservation Fund
Apple's forest in North Carolina - where future iPhone boxes are born. Photo: Whitney Flanagan, The Conservation Fund

When you’re the richest company in the world you can afford to do crazy things: build a spaceship campus, start secret electric car projects, or buy an entire forest.

Apple announced today that it’s buying up 36,000 acres of private forest land that will be sustainably harvested and used for its packaging.

The land is broken into two tracts in Maine and North Carolina and will be managed by the Conservation Fund. Combined, the two tracts are more that two times the size of Manhattan. The pulp from the trees will go toward Apple’s packaging needs, but other companies will be able to buy fiber from them too.

Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives, Lisa Jackson, told Buzzfeed that the company’s move to manage its own pulp supply rather than buy from outside venders is a massive step forward.

“Imagine if every time you opened a package from a company you knew that it came from a working forest. And imagine if companies took seriously their paper chain and made sure that was renewable, just like energy. And imagine if they didn’t just buy renewable paper, but took the step of ensuring that they would stay working forests forever.”

The forests will be managed under a ‘working forest’ model, which keeps an eye toward the long-term well being of the forest. Apple didn’t say how much paper it uses each year for the hundreds millions of iOS devices it sells. Lisa Jackson told Buzzfeed the the paper produced by these two forests is equivalent to nearly half the virgin — that is, nonrecycled — fiber that went into Apple packaging last year.

“Where we want to get, of course, is 100 percent,” said Jackson.

Source: Buzzfeed

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  • Chris Jones

    Wow, impressive! I’m sure Samsung is currently looking for a whole continent to buy now. :)

  • Steve Chavez

    This is an excellent use of resources. To be honest I hope other companies start doing the same.

  • lcicenine

    Chop it down and install solar panels.

    • MrMcGibblets

      Solar Panels belong over parking lots.

    • SigurdMeisfjord

      How are you going to make fiber for packaging out of solar panels?

  • Waleed

    Well thats a great step, at least not wasting the trees, but using them for something nice!
    Proud to be an Apple User!

  • Rich

    Great move. I recently bought several pieces of furniture that had to be assembled. It was all packaged with styrofoam, which is inexcusable. Apple is making the right move. I also applaud Amazon for its “frustration free” packaging. It is not only easier to open, but it also does not use plastic or styrofoam. More companies need to think about the environment.

  • Baz

    Manhattan is extremely small but sounds very big because it is so dense. It probably cost around $20m-$30m to buy the forest, which most listed companies can afford – not just the richest in the world. Skillful headlining.

  • Andrew

    Or they could be even more green and use RECYCLED paper!

  • factcheckr

    Manhattan is 33 sq miles + / –