Apple pushes environmental responsibility, clean energy data centers

Apple has long pushed to be a more environmentally responsible company and manufacturer (and made sure that we were aware of their efforts), and today they launched a new section of Apple.com to highlight those efforts. Additionally, Apple opened up their data center in Nevada and VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson to Wired. And, of course, they made an exceptionally well-produced video, narrated by none other than the docile voice of Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Jackson, a former EPA administrator, joined Apple in June. The company was well under way in their green energy transition process then, and has made progress since. According to Wired's report:

Apple is close to its goal of powering all its facilities 100 percent by renewable energy. Its corporate campuses and data centers are now at 94 percent renewable and rising. (In 2010 it was 35 percent.) The next step is to extend the efforts to its retail stores.

In this accounting, Apple does not include the manufacturing, transport, and use of its actual products, which accounts for 98 percent of its carbon footprint. Still, its accomplishment on facilities, particularly data centers, is significant.

After being lampooned by Greenpeace, just three weeks ago saw Apple lauded by Greenpeace for their progress in clean energy-powered data centers. Apple has frequently touted the environmental friendliness of their products, including the inclusion of recycled materials with their own device recycling programs and reducing the amount of packaging needed for their products (which uses less material and reduces transportation costs — good for Apple's bottom line and the environment).

Alongside Wired's glowing report, a new Environmental Responsibility section of Apple.com has been pushed live, highlighting Apple's commitment to environmental responsibility, helping combat climate change, the radically reduced energy use of products over the past two decades, what's not inside them, and much more.

If you're interested in Apple's impact on the environment, it's a good read (not to mention elegant presentation). Of course, Apple is using this to trumpet their own accomplishments with regards to environmental friendliness, but they're also up-front about the impact they're having. For instance, Apple claims a 2013 carbon footprint of 33.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of which come from the manufacturing process. That total is the equivalent to the carbon footprint of 704,000 US households — a not insignificant number.

Apple is making progress. But there's more work to be done (though we can all say that, eh?). Is it worth it for Apple to be dedicating so many resources to reducing the resources they use, or should they be focusing elsewhere?

Source: Apple, Wired

Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, Army musician, armchair pundit, and professional ranter.

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Reader comments

Apple pushes environmental responsibility, clean energy data centers

2 Comments

It's worth it for Apple because of their brand.

If it were another company, I'd be extremely skeptical about those expenses, but Apple has a brand to protect, and this fits right in with that.