Tim Cook and a surprisingly stone-cold Mother Nature had a staring contest at Apple Park during the Wonderlust event Tuesday. And in Apple’s telling, Tim Cook won.
He played himself in the keynote segment while Octavia Spencer, star of the canceled Truth Be Told on Apple TV+, played a feisty Mother Nature taking executives to task on environmental-initiative progress.
But in the end she chilled out, because Apple had some progress to show, including its first carbon-neutral products.
Apple unveils its first carbon-neutral products
Cook and other Apple executives gamely played along in the Mother Nature segment as Spencer, as Mother Nature, sharply questioned them.
“Let’s cut to the chase. In 2020 you promised to bring Apple’s entire carbon footprint to zero by 2020. Henry David Thoreau over here,” Spencer growled, sarcastically referring to a sheepish Cook, “said we have a profound opportunity to build a more sustainable future for the planet we share.”
“I think out 10 o’clock said the same thing,” her assistant chimed in.
“This is my third corporate responsibility gig today,” Spencer said. “So who wants to disappoint me first?”
It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature
And so it went. Executives began sharing progress over recycling aluminum, phasing out leather, using “clean” electricity and reaching carbon neutrality in Apple Stores, and reducing water use by 63 billion gallons across the company.
Impressively, Apple scripted the whole thing, including snippy, impatient remarks throughout by Spencer.
The staring contest — which went on a surprisingly long time — came at the end after Cook rattled off a bunch of achievements. And Spencer blinked.
But after flashing her first and only smile of the exchange, she warned them not to disappoint their mother as she departed.
Watch the surprisingly funny video:
Apple’s first carbon-neutral products are Apple Watches
Apple’s first-ever carbon-neutral products come in the new Apple Watch lineup. It credited innovations in design and clean energy with reducing product emissions of “over 75% for each carbon neutral Apple Watch.”
It’s an important stop along the way to Apple’s 2030 goal to make every product carbon neutral, including the global supply chain and the lifetime use of every device.
Carbon neutral Apple Watch combos
“Carbon neutral” refers to a balance between a product or process’ carbon emission and, through various means, carbon absorption.
“At Apple, we have a longstanding and proven commitment to leading the fight against climate change. Our focus on renewable energy and low-carbon design has already driven industry-leading emissions reductions, and we’re not slowing down,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.
“We’ve achieved an important milestone in making the world’s most popular watch carbon neutral — and we will keep innovating to meet the urgency of the moment,” she added.
What else is going on?
Apple noted other steps it has taken toward Apple 2023, and for the environment more broadly:
- Ended the use of leather across all product lines.
- Announced its first entirely fiber-based packaging for the new Apple Watch lineup.
- Continued to expand the use of recycled materials in iPhone.
- Introduced a new tool in the Home app called Grid Forecast. It helps inform users when their power grid has cleaner energy available, so they can decide when to use electricity.
- Announced progress to decarbonize its global supply chain, saying more than 300 manufacturers are now committed to using 100 percent clean energy for their Apple production by 2030.
- New commitments from more than 50 suppliers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia have driven recent growth in Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy Program. It now represents more than 90 percent of Apple’s direct manufacturing spend.