Apple to be carbon neutral in seven years: CEO Tim Cook

"Our work is meant to improve other people's lives," said the executive.
Loukia Papadopoulos
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In a new interview with CBS News published Sunday, Apple's CEO shared ambitious sustainable energy and environmental targets for his companies based in the US, China, and Singapore. The executive intends to offset every carbon emitted by Apple products with renewable energy and carbon capture. 

He has promised to achieve this in just seven years and is hoping that Apple's example will encourage others to do the same.

It can be done

"It can be done," he said. "And it can be done in a way that others can replicate, which is very important for us. We want to be the ripple in the pond. We want people to look at this and say, 'I can do that, too,' or, 'I can do half of that.' We want people to look at this and rip it off."

The firm’s corporate operations, including its buildings, shops, and data centres, are already carbon neutral, running entirely on renewable energy since over a decade ago. The firm has a goal of 75 percent reduction in overall carbon emissions from 2015 levels.

Apple has made significant investments in sustainable energy projects, such as solar and wind farms, and has even pushed its suppliers to switch to cleaner energy sources.

The company has further committed to investing in carbon offset projects to make up for its residual carbon emissions in circumstances where 100 percent emissions reduction proves impossible.

Furthermore, Apple has made its products more energy-efficient, has used increasingly more recycled materials, and has even reduced packaging waste as part of its commitment to sustainability. Its new Apple Watch, released this week, is reported to be completely carbon neutral.

Finally, Apple has sought to transition to a circular economy model, in which goods are made to be readily recycled and repaired, lowering the demand for new raw materials and making the most out of already-existing resources. Apple started programs like Apple Trade-In and the Apple Recycling Program to entice users to recycle their old devices and cut down on particularly polluting electronic waste.

Cook told CBS News that the company is all about making a difference.

Improving other people's lives

"Our work is meant to improve other people's lives," Cook explained. "What really turns us on and gets us excited is seeing what people do with our products, where people are doing things and we're empowering them to do it through our products. And as long as, you know, we get that energy, it's a virtuous cycle. We want to do more. We want to release the next product and the next product."

Apple's dedication to environmental sustainability and ethical standards are a shining example of a larger trend in business, where many organizations around the world are putting more of an emphasis on lowering their carbon footprint, implementing eco-friendly practices, and generally behaving in more transparent and humane ways. These efforts are partially promoted by a growing consensus that businesses can and should be concerned with the well-being of people and the planet.

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