Apple investing to protect mangrove forest in Colombia to offset carbon emissions

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 13
Apple on Thursday announced it will invest in a project that aims to protect and restore mangrove trees in a 27,000-acre forest in Colombia, part of the company's initiative to achieve carbon neutrality.




Apple VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives Lisa Jackson revealed plans to invest in the program at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, reports Fast Company. Jackson did not specify how much money Apple is putting toward the project, which is being conducted in partnership with Conservation International.

According to he nonprofit's CEO, M. Sanjayan, mangrove trees are among the best "carbon sponges" in the world, as they not only store carbon dioxide in their leaves and branches, but also sequester the gas into surrounding soil and sediment through vast underwater root systems. By replanting trees in degraded areas, and preserving them in others, the initiative is estimated to remove about one million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air over its lifetime, the report said.

How long the project is expected to run was left unreported, but it is projected to claim around 17,000 metric tons of CO2 in its first year alone. As noted by Fast Company, that figure is roughly equivalent to emissions Apple Maps vans are expected to output over the next decade.

"These forests are critical because they're one of nature's most important tools in the battle against climate change-they can absorb and store up to ten times more carbon than a terrestrial forest," Jackson said.

Carbon International is now able to determine the amount of "blue carbon," or carbon stored in coastal ecosystems, a particular environment can handle, meaning the project will be the first to calculate the CO2 sequestering potential of Colombia's mangroves.

Apple's environmental pursuits have led the company to invest in other forestry projects. In 2015, Apple bought 36,000 acres of forest in Maine and North Carolina to sustainably harvest materials for paper packaging. It committed to protecting one million acres of forest in China that same year.

The forestry projects are part of a larger effort to reduce Apple's impact on the environment. As a result of that wider initiative, which includes contingencies to offset the company's carbon footprint, Apple in April announced its global operation runs entirely on renewable energy sources.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    claire1claire1 Posts: 461unconfirmed, member
    This will be the next "GATE"
    and it will be plastered all over the media!!!!

    Oops never mind it's a positive story, move on.....
    jony0cgWerks
  • Reply 2 of 10
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 611member
    I’ve always been a bit cynical about carbon offset programs that let you invest in something to ‘offset’ your own carbon production. It always seemed that the better option was not using the energy in the first place. That said, there’s nothing wrong with this initiative and I certainly have nothing against it, assuming Apple is doing what it can to minimize energy usage in the first place.

    The biggest thing Apple does for the environment is something that goes largely unnoticed - The fact that you can use an iphone for 4+ years and still have it be perfectly functional, thereby avoiding the purchase of a new phone completly has a far bigger impact than almost anything else they do. It’s much less visible, but it has a positive effect on our pocketbooks as well.
    edited September 13 racerhomie3cgWerks
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Just on the surface of it, this looks like a payoff or bribe disguised as a contribution. What could Apple possibly be doing in Columbia which would warrant this? Are they operating coal-powered factories?
    razorpit
  • Reply 4 of 10
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,570moderator
    MplsP said:
    I’ve always been a bit cynical about carbon offset programs that let you invest in something to ‘offset’ your own carbon production. It always seemed that the better option was not using the energy in the first place. That said, there’s nothing wrong with this initiative and I certainly have nothing against it, assuming Apple is doing what it can to minimize energy usage in the first place.

    The biggest thing Apple does for the environment is something that goes largely unnoticed - The fact that you can use an iphone for 4+ years and still have it be perfectly functional, thereby avoiding the purchase of a new phone completly has a far bigger impact than almost anything else they do. It’s much less visible, but it has a positive effect on our pocketbooks as well.
    Plus iPhones are more compute efficient than the competition. Hundreds of millions of iPhones being used to perform standard smartphone tasks means a few less power plants needed globally.   Repeat for iPads and perhaps even for Macs.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,570moderator

    Just on the surface of it, this looks like a payoff or bribe disguised as a contribution. What could Apple possibly be doing in Columbia which would warrant this? Are they operating coal-powered factories?
    If you want to use offsets as a means to address climate change, it makes sense to direct your funds in the most efficient manner.  And that means finding something you can get cheaply and that has a high climate change offset potential.  Land in Columbia maybe satisfies the ‘cheaply’ aspect while mangroves satisfy the ‘high climate change offset potential’ aspect.  So you get the most bang for your limited buck cherry-picking these locales around the world, until those are all saved/preserved, and then you move on to the less-efficient choices.  
  • Reply 6 of 10
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,570moderator

    YoRHa said:
    When the keynote said “We want to reduce our dependence on mining the Earth,” I thought they might put their $250,000,000,000 IN CASH to good use by using 100 of it to start an asteroid mining corporation. Apple products would cost a tenth of what they do now if Apple got the infrastructure in place to make rare earth metals be pennies to the gram. And if humanity wants to survive to see 2100, we’ll have to mine asteroids. They literally can’t go wrong.
    Not a totally out-of-this-world idea. 
  • Reply 7 of 10
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    I didn't expect people to be against such a simple and obvious project.

    YoRHa said:
    When the keynote said “We want to reduce our dependence on mining the Earth,” I thought they might put their $250,000,000,000 IN CASH to good use by using 100 of it to start an asteroid mining corporation. Apple products would cost a tenth of what they do now if Apple got the infrastructure in place to make rare earth metals be pennies to the gram. And if humanity wants to survive to see 2100, we’ll have to mine asteroids. They literally can’t go wrong.
    You're talking about travel to space, mining a distant asteroid, and then bringing the materials back down to Earth. A whole lot can and will go wrong. It's also very expensive even with SpaceX helping to reduce payload costs in the future.

    edited September 14
  • Reply 8 of 10
    27,000 acres is not that large when it comes to forest land. That said, this is a positive component and part of the many, many different things that can be done to reduce CO2.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 9 of 10
    YoRHa said:
    When the keynote said “We want to reduce our dependence on mining the Earth,” I thought they might put their $250,000,000,000 IN CASH to good use by using 100 of it to start an asteroid mining corporation. Apple products would cost a tenth of what they do now if Apple got the infrastructure in place to make rare earth metals be pennies to the gram. And if humanity wants to survive to see 2100, we’ll have to mine asteroids. They literally can’t go wrong.
    The reason to mine asteroids is to use the materials in space, not the Earth. It has traditionally been so cost prohibitive to get heavy materials into space that asteroid mining has been studied, but Musk’s reusable rockets have upended things so much that those calculations likely no longer apply.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    MplsP said:
    I’ve always been a bit cynical about carbon offset programs that let you invest in something to ‘offset’ your own carbon production. It always seemed that the better option was not using the energy in the first place. That said, there’s nothing wrong with this initiative and I certainly have nothing against it, assuming Apple is doing what it can to minimize energy usage in the first place.

    The biggest thing Apple does for the environment is something that goes largely unnoticed - The fact that you can use an iphone for 4+ years and still have it be perfectly functional, thereby avoiding the purchase of a new phone completly has a far bigger impact than almost anything else they do. It’s much less visible, but it has a positive effect on our pocketbooks as well.
    Yeah, although I guess the trees actually suck up some of the CO2 (assuming CO2 is bad), so in some ways, it is actually mitigating some of it (a bit indirectly). Otherwise, these programs are a bit like throwing trash off your balcony and then donating to an urban cleanup campaign.

    But, you're spot on in that second paragraph. All these devices and quick refresh cycles are far more impactful on the planet than CO2. The more we can do to reduce our throw-away and quick-replace culture, it will do much, much more towards a better future. And... I'd say most of that needs to happen at the grocery store.

    radarthekat said:
    Plus iPhones are more compute efficient than the competition. Hundreds of millions of iPhones being used to perform standard smartphone tasks means a few less power plants needed globally.   Repeat for iPads and perhaps even for Macs.
    Yeah, but consider the resources and materials use it actually takes to make them. We used to have 1 computer in the house. Now we have like 3 laptops, 4 iPads, 4 iPhones, etc, etc. And, Apple used to build stuff like the 'cheese grater' that could go for 10 years + and be upgraded and such. While I'm not sure I necessarily want to go back there - and the argument is true that few do upgrade/repair - I don't think the newer product designs give a hoot about the planet.

    radarthekat said:
    If you want to use offsets as a means to address climate change, it makes sense to direct your funds in the most efficient manner.  And that means finding something you can get cheaply and that has a high climate change offset potential.  Land in Columbia maybe satisfies the ‘cheaply’ aspect while mangroves satisfy the ‘high climate change offset potential’ aspect.  So you get the most bang for your limited buck cherry-picking these locales around the world, until those are all saved/preserved, and then you move on to the less-efficient choices.  
    Why not just run everything off renewables? Oh, because they aren't available? Offsets are the only real choice right now, because the energy needed to do what they are doing isn't really possible in renewable form.

    Soli said:
    I didn't expect people to be against such a simple and obvious project.
    Not against the program... just a bit cynical about the impact to marketing-flash ratio. :)
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