Apple's 2015 Enviromental Responsibility Report shows larger carbon footprint

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Apple on Monday issued the 2015 edition of its Environmental Responsibility report, trumpeting attempts to reduce the company's contributions to problems like climate change and resource depletion, while admitting gaps in managing its carbon footprint.




As with last year's report, Apple stated in the new document that it has three main priorities: limiting climate change through renewable energy and power efficiency, conserving resources, and pioneering the application of "greener" materials in products and processes.

The company reiterated, for instance, that all of its datacenters are powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biogas, geothermal, and "micro-hydro" power. In terms of efficiency, the company claims to have reduced the average total greenhouse gas emissions during product use by 61 percent since 2008.

One highlight of the report is the recent announcement of its deal with The Conservation Fund to buy 36,000 acres of forest in Maine and North Carolina for sustainable paper and packaging manufacturing. The company also draws attention to the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and 12-inch MacBook dropping beryllium from their list of included chemicals, and a deal with SunPower for twin solar plants in China's Sichuan province.

Regarding climate charge, Apple said that it generated about 34.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2014, an increase from 33.8 million in 2013. The vast majority, 24.8 million, came from its third-party manufacturing partners. Another 7 million is estimated to have been produced by consumers, while 1.6 million was created by transportation. Half a million tons stemmed from recycling efforts, while Apple's own facilities accounted for roughly 400,000 tons.

Apple blamed the slip on high sales, particularly of the iPhone, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, as well as increased memory and storage production. Manufacturing emissions jumped 5 percent, It also claimed increased carbon efficiency however, pointing to a 7 percent drop in emissions from product use.

As of last year, all of Apple's US operations and 87 percent of its international facilities are based on renewable energy, lowering carbon output -- the company's eventual aim is to power all of its buildings with renewables, including every Apple Store, whether through onsite sources or deals with suppliers. Between its 2011 and 2014 fiscal years, Apple lowered its net Scope 1 and 2 CO2 equivalent emissions 48 percent to less than 100,000 metric tons.

Apple facilities that are being built or undergoing "major" renovations will now use LED lighting, as well as HVAC and plumbing equipment picked for lifecycle cost rather than the initial one. Those efficiency efforts were first put into place last year, and are affecting buildings in the US, Europe, and Asia.

On the subject of resources, Apple said that more than 80 percent of the paper and corrugated cardboard used for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, and Apple TV packages in 2014 came from sustainable forest, controlled wood, or recycling sources. The company is hoping to eventually eliminate all virgin fiber sources -- the Conservation Fund deal is said to be equivalent to "nearly half" the virgin fiber Apple used in fiscal 2014.

To go with the report, Apple released a two-minute promotional video summarizing its achievements.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    blazarblazar Posts: 270member
    Jevon's Paradox...
  • Reply 2 of 17

    Yeah, but Al Gore's on the board, so they'll surely be given allowances from him, right?

  • Reply 3 of 17

    This article seems to be manufacturing a controversy. You don't measure carbon emissions, you measure carbon intensity, say Kg CO2e per unit sold or per dollar. In fact Apple did that on page 5. Then you compare it against your competitors. Your net emissions are going up, but if people buy your products over less efficient competitors, then you have a net win.

  • Reply 4 of 17
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,824member
    Interesting how the headline jumps all over the one factor that went in the wrong direction (due to incredible sales success) while ignoring all of the other fantastic improvements that Apple has made. I'd expect such behavior from other sites, but does Apple Insider really have to go down this "the glass is one tenth empty so the world is coming to an end" corrosive mantra that everyone else applies to Apple? C'mon AI, think different, show some class.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 563member

    Great to hear they putting a lot of effort into this! I think this is paving the way to the future, and Apple will be there first (among some other companies).

  • Reply 6 of 17
    Apple is one of the top few producers in the world.

    They are going to have a giant carbon footprint.

    But they've been responsible in minimizing it.

    Great job so far.

    And investments in solar and timber only show how serious they are.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    konqerror wrote: »
    This article seems to be manufacturing a controversy. You don't measure carbon emissions, you measure carbon intensity, say Kg CO2e per unit sold or per dollar. In fact Apple did that on page 5. <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Then you compare it against your competitors. Your net emissions are going up, but if people buy your products over less efficient competitors, then you have a net win.</span>

    You certainly do need to measure carbon emissions. The planet doesn't care about carbon intensity, it's the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere that matters if we are to reduce our impact on the climate.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

    This article seems to be manufacturing a controversy. You don't measure carbon emissions, you measure carbon intensity, say Kg CO2e per unit sold or per dollar. In fact Apple did that on page 5. Then you compare it against your competitors. Your net emissions are going up, but if people buy your products over less efficient competitors, then you have a net win.




    Nobody with a brain will see a 1% increase as surprising in light of Apple's impressive growth. If anything it's surprising it's only risen 1%.

    With all the proactive measures Apple has taken recently, I'd be surprised if their carbon footprint goes up next year, even with the inevitable sales growth they will experience. 

  • Reply 9 of 17
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post





    You certainly do need to measure carbon emissions. The planet doesn't care about carbon intensity, it's the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere that matters if we are to reduce our impact on the climate.

     

    A bus puts out far more carbon emissions than a car. Therefore we should ban all buses.

  • Reply 10 of 17
    konqerror wrote: »
    A bus puts out far more carbon emissions than a car. Therefore we should ban all buses.

    What are you talking about?

    What matters as far as climate change is concerned is the total amount of CO2 we put into the atmosphere. Carbon intensity measure how much CO2 is produced relative to some amount of energy produced - it's basically an efficiency rating for some industrial process. Efficiency doesn't matter to the climate though, it doesn't care if the 20 billion tons of CO2 we added today was produced more efficiently than the 20 billion tons we added yesterday. We still added 40 billion tons.

    Easy really.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post



    Carbon intensity measure how much CO2 is produced relative to some amount of energy produced 

    Wrong again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emission_intensity

    Quote:

     An emission intensity is the average emission rate of a given pollutant from a given source relative to the intensity of a specific activity; for example grams of carbon dioxide released per megajoule of energy produced, or the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced to gross domestic product(GDP). 


    Therefore, CO2e/Dollar revenue is carbon intensity.

     

    So Carbon Intensity * Revenue = Total carbon emissions. If you lower either Intensity or Revenue, then the total goes down. This is third grade math.

     

    The other severely misinformed treehugger thing we have here is people who can't figure out that they have to account for lifecycle emissions. They say we should grow things locally because trucks release emissions, when instead we're shipping huge amounts of water and fertilizers and putting up heated greenhouses to grow things in an unfavorable climate.

  • Reply 12 of 17
    It's hard to believe the smart people at Apple still believe the "climate change" BS. Haven't they read Richard Lindzen of MIT? This is all so silly it makes the head spin.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    globalpix wrote: »
    It's hard to believe the smart people at Apple still believe the "climate change" BS. Haven't they read Richard Lindzen of MIT? This is all so silly it makes the head spin.
    You mean the Richard Lindzen that is called "unprofessional" and "irresponsible" for his climate views by his MIT colleagues? (and almost everyone else in the scientific community.)
  • Reply 14 of 17
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    What are you talking about?

    What matters as far as climate change is concerned is the total amount of CO2 we put into the atmosphere. Carbon intensity measure how much CO2 is produced relative to some amount of energy produced - it's basically an efficiency rating for some industrial process. Efficiency doesn't matter to the climate though, it doesn't care if the 20 billion tons of CO2 we added today was produced more efficiently than the 20 billion tons we added yesterday. We still added 40 billion tons.

    Easy really.

    You're missing the point.

    Apple makes more products so automatically it will have a large carbon footprint even though it is more environmentally responsible, per-product, than its competitors.

    The bus comparison he gave illustrates that buses are more responsible, even though they produce more pollution than a car, because the bus carries many more people, therefore it not only negates the difference, but becomes a positive.

    Apples existence depends on creating products. But it does so responsibly. Therefore, though it does have a slight growth in pollution given more product, it's exponentially less than its competitors.

    You can't tell them to "stop making stuff." But you can hope they will be as responsible as possible about it. And all indications are that they are.
  • Reply 15 of 17



    I'm not missing the point (I was replying to Konqueror's weird statement about buses), but I completely agree with you! The nature of a company as big as Apple means they will have a pretty big carbon footprint no matter what, but Apple are doing a lot more than most to reduce the size of that footprint.

     

    I wish every company would follow Apple's lead in environmental responsibility. Here's hoping ...

  • Reply 16 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

    Wrong again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emission_intensity

    Therefore, CO2e/Dollar revenue is carbon intensity.

     

    So Carbon Intensity * Revenue = Total carbon emissions. If you lower either Intensity or Revenue, then the total goes down. This is third grade math.

     

    The other severely misinformed treehugger thing we have here is people who can't figure out that they have to account for lifecycle emissions. They say we should grow things locally because trucks release emissions, when instead we're shipping huge amounts of water and fertilizers and putting up heated greenhouses to grow things in an unfavorable climate.




    Oh dear. What does it say in your own quote from Wikipedia? Err, "An emission intensity is the average emission rate of a given pollutant from a given source relative to the intensity of a specific activityfor example grams of carbon dioxide released per megajoule of energy produced" Maybe your eyes skipped over that bit!

     

    I don't know why you don't understand this. Think of your electricity bill as equivalent to the CO2 in the atmosphere. Imagine that you buy a new freezer that is twice as efficient as your old one and a new TV that's also twice as efficient as your old one. However, (externalilties being ignored for now) if you use them in addition to your existing freezer and TV, it doesn't matter one bit that they use 50% of the power of your other ones, your electricity bill will still go up.

     

    What is simple mathematics is that if you increase the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere then you increase the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The atmosphere doesn't care if that increase was at lower carbon intensity. That's why, despite all our processes having lower carbon intensity as we become more efficient, we've gone over 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere for the first time in human history.

  • Reply 17 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by globalpix View Post



    It's hard to believe the smart people at Apple still believe the "climate change" BS. Haven't they read Richard Lindzen of MIT? This is all so silly it makes the head spin.



    Maybe you should wonder why those "smart people" at Apple believe what the overwhelming majority of the world's climate scientists say about global warming and then spend some time wondering on what basis you disagree with them all. Or was it just Richard Lindzen alone who swung it for you?

Sign In or Register to comment.