Apple has pledged to end its reliance on mining, and to make its devices from only renewable or recycled materials — although it’s not announced any timeline to do so.
The pledge was announced as part of the company’s Environmental Responsibility Report.
As part of the report it notes that:
“Traditional supply chains are linear. Materials are mined, manufactured as products, and often end up in landfills after use. Then the process starts over and more materials are extracted from the earth for new products. We believe our goal should be a closed-loop supply chain, where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material.”
In an interview between Vice and Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, Jackson said that, “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it.”
Last year, 96 percent of the electricity used at Apple’s global facilities came from renewable energy. In 24 countries and all of Apple’s data centers, this figure rises to 100 percent.
A force for good in the world
Apple’s focus on sustainability comes as no surprise. Just this week, Tim Cook accepted the Free Expression Award at the First Amendment advocacy Newseum — in part for the public stance he has taken on issues such as climate change.
Having once been labeled the “least green” tech company by Greenpeace due to its reliance on coal at data centers, Apple is now one of the most sustainable, eco-friendly companies around. For instance, it uses a smart robot called Liam to disassemble products for recycling, and encourages customers to engage with the Apple Renew recycling program.
It’s also found a way of producing aluminum so that the iPhone 7 enclosure uses 27 percent less of the material than the iPhone 6, while pumping out 60 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. It is also working on new ways to reuse materials, such as melting down old iPhones to build the Mac mini.
There’s plenty still to do — particularly when it comes to eliminating the reliance on “conflict minerals” — but we applaud Apple for taking the right steps.