Apple has announced that its new Watch Series 9 is its first-ever carbon neutral product, a significant step towards its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The company’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions focuses on three key areas: electricity, materials, and transportation. Apple aims to reduce emissions in these sectors and then offset any remaining emissions through high-quality carbon credits from nature-based projects. This achievement is part of Apple’s long-term journey to carbon neutrality, which began over a decade ago. In 2020, the company achieved carbon neutrality for its global corporate operations and unveiled its Apple 2030 strategy, which aims for carbon neutrality across its entire value chain by 2030. Apple has already reduced total emissions by over 45% while increasing revenue by more than 65%.
The tech giant has also released its Net Zero Emissions Roadmap, which outlines its progress towards its 2030 climate goal. As part of this roadmap, Apple has achieved a major milestone by introducing its first carbon-neutral watch series. These watches have been selected based on strict criteria, including the use of 100% clean electricity for manufacturing and product usage, 30% recycled or renewable materials by weight, and at least 50% of shipping without air transportation. Apple’s carbon footprint calculations also take into account the emissions associated with generating clean electricity, such as manufacturing renewable energy infrastructure. Only after implementing these carbon reduction efforts does Apple resort to offsetting residual emissions through high-quality carbon credits, resulting in a carbon-neutral product footprint.
In the case of the Apple Watch SE paired with Sport Loop, the remaining 7.2kg of carbon emissions were offset with carbon removal credits from Apple’s nature-based solutions through its Restore Fund program. The company has expanded this program by doubling its investment up to $200 million. Apple aims to achieve carbon neutrality for all its products by 2030, including iPhones, iPads, iPods, MacBooks, and more. The carbon footprint of various iPhone and iPad models is estimated to be around 4,500 kg, and Apple sells millions of each model worldwide. To offset 25% of its total product life cycle emissions (Scope 3) in 2022, which is over 20 million Mt, Apple would need more than 5 million Mt of carbon removals.
Apple is heavily investing in carbon removal efforts, recognizing their importance in tackling the climate crisis and meeting global climate goals. After significant reductions in product emissions, the company will offset residual emissions with high-quality carbon removal credits primarily from nature-based projects. These projects involve protecting forests and restoring grasslands and wetlands. Apple defines high-quality carbon credits as those coming from projects that are real, additional, measurable, permanent, and quantified. The company supports carbon removal initiatives that meet these quality criteria through its Restore Fund program, which funds projects in Latin America. The carbon offsets used for carbon-neutral Apple Watch models come from projects that restore and protect forests in Paraguay and Brazil in partnership with Arbaro Advisors and BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group.
Apple’s commitment to environmental sustainability extends beyond carbon neutrality. The company has made efforts such as ceasing the use of leather across all its product lines, introducing fiber-based packaging for the new Apple Watch lineup, incorporating recycled materials into iPhone production, and providing tools like Grid Forecast in the Home app to help users select cleaner energy sources for electricity consumption.
Apple also plays a significant role in advocating for clean energy and supports its suppliers in transitioning to renewable power sources. The company invests in large-scale solar and wind projects and collaborates with manufacturing partners to promote clean energy adoption. Apple and its global suppliers collectively support over 15 gigawatts of clean energy worldwide, equivalent to powering over 5 million American homes. The company’s Supplier Clean Energy Program, joined by more than 300 suppliers, commits to achieving 100% renewable electricity for Apple production by 2030. Apple designs its products with sustainability in mind, incorporating recycled materials and phasing out leather in favor of FineWoven, a textile made from 68% post-consumer recycled content. The company also aims to use 100% recycled metals in key components by 2025.
Looking beyond its carbon neutrality goals, Apple is committed to supporting broader efforts to decarbonize shipping industries and develop sustainable aviation fuels. The company also advocates for other innovations such as alternative fuels and electric vehicles. Apple’s commitment to a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050 highlights its role in the fight against climate change. The company calls for collective action, urging governments, businesses, and individuals to work together in accelerating progress towards a sustainable future.