Apple Cracks Down on Environmental Protection

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 9.40.00 PMApple has a long-standing history of taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of shipping millions of electronic devices around the world year-round. Anyone who’s watched the company’s event videos knows Apple takes product package and eco-friendly technology improvements very seriously in its effort to do right by the planet. Earlier this year, Apple released results of a recent audit [Click the image on the right to download] that takes an in-depth look at how well they’re reaching those goals.



Overall, Apple is doing a really good job. A company-wide zero-impact strategy would be ideal, but fairly unrealistic, at least in the short term. With that in mind, here’s some highlights from the report:

  • 100 percent renewable energy resources sustain four Apple facilities around the globe. Long-term plans include bringing its corporate facilities in Cupertino, CA up to the same level.
  • The U.S. Green Building Council designated Apple’s Maiden, NC, data center as LEED Platinum certified for it’s exceptional energy efficiency. The company says it “knows of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of certification.”
  • The Commute Alternative program that provides free electric car charging stations, free biodiesel commute buses, and free shuttles from public transportation serviced over 10,000 employees in 2011.
  • Surprisingly, the bulk of Apple’s water usage around the world is primarily for sanitary and landscaping purposes and not manufacturing. Even so, the company is taking steps to modify or enhance its current water systems with an eye toward reduced water consumption wherever possible.
  • Since implementing an intensive recycling program in 2007 in the cafeteria of its Cupertino headquarters, more than 800 metric tons of waste have been composted and made available to public and commercial farms.
  • A mere two percent of the company’s total carbon emissions come from Apple facilities and buildings. The remaining 98 percent come directly from the manufacturing and use of its products. All told, Apple says it was responsible for 23.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2011. As a comparison point, the entire industrial sector was responsible for total of 1.5 billion metric tons of emissions that same year.

We encourage you to read the report in its entirety even if you aren’t a consumer of Apple products because it gives a lot of insight into the steps multi-million dollar companies can – and are – taking to lessen the environmental impact of manufacturing processes. When you’re done, take a few minutes to check out how Apple holds its suppliers accountable by enforcing the Code of Conduct they’re expected to uphold to be part of one of the biggest supply chains in the world.

Do a company’s environmental impact policies factor into your purchasing decisions? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments