We take a rigorous approach to measuring our environmental impact. In fact, we know of no other company in our industry that goes so far in measuring, verifying and disclosing its carbon emissions. Instead of reporting just the carbon footprint of the facilities we own, we also include the carbon footprint of our supply chain. And we don’t use generalised industry-standard measurement models — we use a comprehensive product life cycle analysis that measures the carbon footprint throughout the entire life of our products, so everything is meticulously accounted for. That means adding up emissions generated from the manufacturing, transportation, use and recycling of our products, as well as emissions generated by all of our facilities. And while we’re constantly improving, we’re also constantly reporting — even when our numbers aren’t as good as we’d like them to be.
We’re always trying to improve the way we conduct our greenhouse gas life cycle analysis. And when our assessments reveal a material, process or system that’s making a significant negative impact on our carbon footprint, we re‐examine how we design that product, process or facility. For example, we were using industry‑standard methods to account for our emissions from aluminium, but because we use aluminium in so many of our products, we decided to undertake an extensive survey of our aluminium suppliers. Our study revealed that emissions associated with manufacturing our aluminium housings were nearly four times higher than we believed, so we’ve updated our life cycle analysis data to be more accurate. As a result, we reported a 9 per cent increase in our carbon footprint for 2013. Had we not changed our methodology, our emissions would have dropped 10 per cent. We’re committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and will continue using our life cycle analysis to drive that change.
Our goal is to power all Apple corporate offices, retail stores and data centres entirely with energy from renewable sources — solar, wind, micro‑hydro and geothermal, which uses heat straight from the earth. We’re designing new buildings and updating existing ones to use as little electricity as possible. We’re investing in our own Apple onsite energy production as well as establishing relationships with third‑party energy suppliers to source renewable energy. As of 2013, we’ve already converted 73 per cent of the energy for all our facilities — 86 per cent for our corporate campuses and 100 per cent for our data centres. And so far in 2014, we’re powering more than 120 US retail stores with renewable energy.
All our data centres are powered by 100 per cent renewable energy sources, which result in zero greenhouse gas emissions and we’re committed to keeping it that way. These energy sources include solar, wind and geothermal power. This renewable energy comes from both onsite sources and energy obtained from local resources. The data centres run services like Siri, the iTunes Store, the App Store, Maps and iMessage. So every time a song is downloaded from iTunes, an app is installed from the Mac App Store, or a book is downloaded from iBooks, the energy Apple uses is provided by nature. And the energy savings go beyond the data centres themselves, because there’s no physical material to manufacture, package and transport.
Maiden, North Carolina
We designed our Maiden, North Carolina, data centre from the ground up for energy efficiency, and it has earned the LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council — the first data centre of its size to be honoured. On any given day, between 60 and 100 per cent of the renewable energy it uses is generated onsite through biogas fuel cells and two 20‑megawatt solar arrays — the nation’s largest privately owned renewable energy installation — and we purchase any remaining power we need from entirely clean sources. The Maiden centre generates 167 million kilowatt‑hours of renewable energy onsite per year — enough to power the equivalent of 13,837 homes.1
Our data centre in Prineville, Oregon, is every bit as environmentally responsible as the one in Maiden. We’re building a micro-hydro system that will harness the power of water that flows through local irrigation canals. When completed in 2014, it will serve most of the centre’s energy needs. In the meantime, since Oregon allows the direct wholesale purchase of renewable energy, we’re able to directly access enough local wind energy to power the entire data centre.
Our newest data centre, in Reno, Nevada, follows in the footsteps of our 100 per cent renewable energy centres in Maiden and Prineville. We’re working with the local utility to co-develop an 18- to 20-megawatt solar array using a new kind of photovoltaic panel with curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight. Expected to be operational in early 2015, the solar array will have an annual production capacity of over 43 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy. Until then, the centre will be powered by renewable geothermal energy purchased from the local utility.
Like our facilities in Maiden, Prineville and Reno, our data centre in Newark, California, is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. We hit this milestone in January 2013, when we began serving the data centre with energy sourced primarily from California wind power. We’re acquiring this energy directly from the wholesale market through California’s Direct Access program.
Our collocated facilities
The vast majority of our online services are provided by our own data centres in Maiden, Prineville, Reno and Newark. We also use third-party collocation facilities for additional data centre capacity. While Apple doesn’t own these shared facilities and uses only a portion of their total capacity, we include them in our renewable energy goals. And we are working with these providers to ensure that our energy load is provided in the cleanest way possible. Since early 2013, over 70 per cent of our power for collocated facilities has come from renewable sources, and we won’t stop until we get to 100 per cent.
Like everything we build, our new Apple campus in Cupertino pushes the boundaries of technology — it will be the most energy‑efficient building of its kind. Powered by 100 per cent renewable energy sources, the campus goes beyond showing respect for the environment to forming a partnership with it. Air flows freely between the inside and outside of the building, providing natural ventilation for 75 per cent of the year. And sunlight powers one of the largest onsite corporate solar energy installations in the world.
The building itself is just part of the story. Just under 80 per cent of the site will be open space, populated by more than 7,000 trees — including more than 6,000 newly planted shade and fruit trees. Drought-tolerant plants will be used throughout the landscape to minimise water use.
Getting to and from the new campus will be greener too. We’re expanding our existing commuter alternatives program by 20 per cent. This means that over a third of our nearly 15,000 employees in Cupertino can commute to the new campus using our biofuel buses, public transport, bicycles, car pools and their own two feet. And for drivers, we’ll have over 300 electric vehicle charging stations.
The new campus is being built from the ground up to meet the highest environmental standards set by LEED, an internationally recognised green building rating system. When completed, Apple Campus 2 will be an ever-present reminder of our commitment to sustainability and an example of what every corporate campus can be.
The energy consumed by our products during everyday use represents a big share of our carbon footprint. So we look at three ways to reduce a product’s energy consumption: more efficient power supplies to bring electricity from the wall to the device, more efficient hardware and smarter power management software.
As a company that designs both the hardware and the software for its products, we’re able to use that technological collaboration for greater energy efficiency. OS X, the Mac operating system, never misses a power-saving opportunity, no matter how small. It puts hard disks to sleep and runs processors in an ultralow power mode when you’re not hard at work on your Mac. And when you are, OS X uses less energy for apps that are open but not visible, pauses animated website plug-ins until you give the OK, and can even idle the processor between keystrokes as you type. These energy savings might seem tiny, but when multiplied by every Apple computer in the world, it’s huge.
A lot of the things that used to be done on a computer are now being done on an iPad or iPhone. Since these smaller devices use a lot less material and energy, their carbon footprint is much smaller than that of a computer. And as these devices become more and more advanced, their footprint continues to decrease as well — the A7 chip is up to twice as fast as the A6 while still delivering up to 10 hours of battery life. Which means that even though you’ll get better performance, you won’t be using more energy.
Since 2008, we’ve reduced the average total power consumed by Apple products by 57 per cent and reduced a portion of our greenhouse gas emissions too. So even as we continue to grow faster than the rest of the industry, we’re doing it with products that are friendlier to the environment.
ENERGY STAR standards are just our starting point.
Every Apple product not only meets but far exceeds the strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. No other company in our industry can make that claim. In fact, we go beyond the ENERGY STAR specification, offering notebooks that are up to 7.6 times as energy-efficient as the ENERGY STAR specification and desktop computers that are up to 7.9 times as energy-efficient.
The EPEAT Gold standard.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) allows consumers to see the effect a product has on the environment. Each product is assessed a Gold, Silver or Bronze rank depending on its efficiency and sustainability. Every Apple notebook, desktop computer and display that EPEAT ranks achieves a Gold rating, the highest possible.
Making thinner, lighter and more material-efficient products not only reduces their carbon footprint and conserves resources, but also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced during transportation. We’re shipping more and more products per trip, and the savings are adding up. Along with designing the iPhone 5s box to be 41 per cent smaller in volume than the first iPhone box, we’ve also redesigned our iMac packaging. The slanted shape of the iMac box uses less material and makes it easier to stack more on each shipping pallet. So more products can be shipped in one trip, resulting in fewer emissions.
Apple in Australia is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, an Australian Government and industry initiative to reduce the environmental impacts of packaging with a focus on packaging design. Apple has been a signatory to the National Packaging Covenant since 2006. See Apple’s Action Plan and Annual Report.
All electronic waste we collect worldwide is processed in the region where it’s collected — nothing is shipped overseas for disposal. The vast majority of our recycling is handled in-region too — keeping our transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions low. We currently work with 153 partners around the globe whose facilities are rigorously evaluated annually for health and safety, environmental compliance, material tracking, social responsibility and other Apple mandates.
Learn more about our commitment to recycling