In its Environmental Progress Report for 2020, Apple states that the decision to stop shipping power adapters with new iPhone models will allow the company to save 861,000 tons of copper, zinc, and tin. Moves such as these are part of Apple’s broader strategy to reduce carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
The report details the progress Apple made in reaching this goal. According to the data, excluding power adapters also allowed putting up to 70% more iPhones on shipping pallets, which significantly increased supply-line effectiveness. Apple also reduced its CO2 emissions by 2.5 million tons in 2020 and shrunk its power consumption by 13.9 million kWh.
Significant progress has been made in the use of recycled materials as well. For example, 40% of the materials used in the Macbook Air with Retina display are recycled, as well as 99% of the tungsten used in iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6.
The company’s corporate operations have been carbon-neutral since April 2020. Now, the tech giant works to extend this progress to its supply lines. So far, more than 110 of Apple’s suppliers have committed to using clean energy. In 2020, there were reports of Apple possibly going into the production of iPhones with removable batteries, which would further reduce electronic waste.
Apple also works on minimizing power consumption on smartphones and other devices it produces. The new M1 chip used in the newer Mac Mini devices reduces their carbon footprint by 34%. Also, the new generation of iPads uses 66% less energy than ENERGY STAR requires.
In total, Apple reduced the average energy use in its products by 70% over the last 12 years. On top of this, Apple’s Restore Fund will invest up to $200 million in natural climate solutions.
Apple is not the only major company to make these kinds of efforts, with Microsoft and Amazon also working towards carbon neutrality or carbon negativity. Reducing emissions is crucial as we face an unprecedented climate crisis that requires swift and thorough changes.
While Apple’s efforts are commendable, we shouldn’t forget its connections to cobalt mining, which often has a severely negative impact on the environment and predominantly relies on child and near-slave labor.