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1 November 2022

Apple calls for improved supply chain reporting on greenhouse gas emissions

By Wireless Watch Staff

Apple has sent a rallying cry to its global supply chain this week, imploring manufacturing partners to take new steps to address greenhouse gas emissions.

Although the firm says its global corporate operations have been powered by 100% renewable energy since 2020, critics point out this is a drop in the ocean compared to the environmental impact of the proprietary chargers and cables that go with iPhones, Macs, iPads and so on.

Apple has finally acknowledged the extent of its climate footprint. The company is encouraging its global supply chain to hand over reporting for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions – for anything related to Apple corporate operations.

On paper, scope 1 (direct emissions from owned infrastructure) and scope 2 (indirect emissions from purchased energy) emissions from Apple’s supply chain should equal Apple’s scope 3 emissions, but there is no official reporting of scope 3 in this plan.

Once Apple has collated this scope 1 and 2 data from its global supply chain, it plans to track and audit annual progress, then partner with suppliers to “make measurable progress towards decarbonization.” Apple aims to facilitate supply chain decarbonization by educating smaller companies on how to transition to clean energy, while throwing cash at the construction of wind farms and large-scale solar projects, aiming to add 3,000 gigawatt hours each year of renewable energy to the grid across Europe.

Apple claims that over 200 of suppliers in the chain (representing about 70% of Apple’s direct manufacturing spend) have already committed to using renewable energy sources for all Apple production. The end goal is to make Apple’s supply chain carbon neutral by 2030.

Apple’s focus on sustainability in Europe comes just weeks after the European Commission voted that all mobile devices sold in Europe from the end of 2024 must support USB-C charging? Notably, laptops up to 100W will be required to switch to standardized charging ports from 2026. Apple rallied hard to halt the EC’s ruling, claiming that standardization stifles innovation.

Apple claims to have reduced total emissions by 40% since 2015, largely through improvements in energy efficiency, low-carbon design of its products such as reduced packaging, and (again) its carbon neutral corporate operations. Of course, Apple doesn’t explain whether this 40% reduction over the past seven years comprises scope 1 emissions, or scope 1 and 2, or scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.