Eliminating the risks from toxic substances in the products we all use has always been a passion of mine, and today it is one of our top three environmental priorities here at Apple. We continue to lead the industry in this area as we are committed to keeping both people and the environment healthy. That’s why we’ve removed many harmful substances from our product designs and go to great lengths to make sure they stay that way.
Our pursuit has led to the creation of greener materials and more earth-friendly products, such as power leads made without PVC, mercury-free displays and enclosures that don’t contain brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
We require our suppliers to follow our Regulated Substances Specification and we hold our supply chain responsible with rigorous testing, by our own experts as well as independent labs. And today, for the first time, we are releasing our Regulated Substances Specification to the public.
Recently, we received some questions about whether the chemicals benzene and n-hexane are used in the manufacturing of our products. Apple treats any allegations of unsafe working conditions extremely seriously. We took immediate investigative action, sending specialised teams into each of our 22 final assembly facilities, and found no evidence of workers’ health being put at risk. We’ve updated our tight restrictions on benzene and n-hexane to explicitly prohibit their use in final assembly processes. You can learn more about our commitment to safe handling of chemicals and toxic substances here.
Our history proves that the electronics industry can make use of green chemistry. It’s time now to do even better, and we are eager to take on this challenge.
We’ll invest in research on new materials and technologies. We’ll assemble a new advisory board, composed of leaders in safer chemicals and pollution prevention, to advance our efforts to minimise or eliminate toxins from our products and supply chain. And we’ll listen — convening roundtables with stakeholders to seek out the best science, data and solutions.
We’re committed to removing toxins from our products and processes. Because everyone has the right to a safe product and a safe working environment.
On Earth Day, we promised to keep you posted on our progress in reducing Apple’s environmental impact. We’re back with a few updates.
First, we recently submitted our 2013 carbon emissions data to the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project). For the past six years, we’ve been measuring and publishing our carbon footprint — not just for the facilities we own but also for our supply chain and even our customers’ use of Apple products. We heard from some shareholders that making this information available through the CDP would help them more easily track our environmental performance. So you can expect to see Apple’s data in the CDP’s next report this autumn.
Second, while focusing on our climate data, we decided to recalculate our 2012 emissions using our newest methodology — the same model we used to calculate our 2013 numbers. The new analysis shows that our carbon footprint actually shrank by three per cent from 2012 to 2013. This marked the first time we’ve seen a year-on-year decline since we began tracking the numbers in 2009. While we’re excited about this progress, we know our work is far from done.
We also released our full 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report, previously called the Facilities Environmental Footprint Report. We gave an extensive preview of its content when we launched this website 10 weeks ago, but we have additional details and progress to share:
- We’re now powering 145 of our US retail stores and all our retail stores in Australia with 100 per cent renewable energy.
- Thanks to our clean-power investments, our carbon footprint from energy use dropped by 31 per cent from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2013 — even though our overall energy consumption increased by 42 per cent during that time.
- The energy efficiency programmes we applied to our corporate offices in the Cupertino area over the past three years saved 28.5 million kWh of electricity and 22 million kWh of natural gas.
- The commute alternatives programme for our employees provided more than one million trips and helped avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking more than 15,000 vehicles off the road.
The new report also highlights some of the challenges we face:
- Our water consumption rose significantly in 2013, in part due to construction and other expansion activities.
- Carbon emissions from our manufacturing partners remain the largest portion of our carbon footprint, an area we’re committed to addressing.
Good data leads to good decisions, and we’re already using the data from this year’s report to inform the work that will fill the pages of next year’s. Stay tuned.
At Apple, we believe innovation is about making things better. This simple idea drives us to take action in the face of the very real problem of climate change. We feel the responsibility to consider everything we do in order to reduce our impact on the environment. This means using greener materials and constantly inventing new ways to conserve precious resources.
We aim to create not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of our progress. For example, every one of our data centres is powered entirely by clean sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. So whenever you download a song, update an app or ask Siri a question, the energy Apple uses is provided by nature.
Of course, the cleanest energy is the energy you never use. That’s why we’ve reduced the average total power consumed by Apple products by 57 per cent since 2008. And each one of our products far exceeds the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by ENERGY STAR.
We’ve led the industry in removing many harmful toxins from our products, such as PVC, brominated flame retardants and phthalates. And we’ve recycled more than 190 million kilos of electronic waste. In fact, every Apple Retail Store will now take back Apple products for free and recycle them responsibly. We believe we must be accountable for every Apple product at every stage of its use.
“Better” means we’re never done. We push ourselves every day to develop innovations that reduce our carbon footprint, use cleaner and safer materials, and show that what’s good for the planet can also be good for business. At Apple, we continue to put nature at the centre of our business and design principles. We promise to keep you updated on our journey.
Vice President of Environmental Initiatives