Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has started to step outside its core franchises of consumer electronics and delivery of software and paid content to consumers. It has strongly hinted it plans to enter the auto industry with disruptive technology that will shake the sector to its foundations. It also has announced it will go a bridge further with investments in clean energy in China.
Perhaps the China investment is due to Apple’s admission that the country represents the largest opportunity for sales growth. Alternatively, Apple’s largest suppliers tend to be in China. Finally, Apple has made ongoing commitments to going “green” as a way to protect the world’s natural resources.
Apple announced two new programs aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of its manufacturing partners in China. The programs will avoid over 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution in the country between now and 2020, equivalent to taking nearly 4 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.
Apple also announced that construction on 40 megawatts of solar projects in the Sichuan Province is now complete. These solar installations produce more than the total amount of electricity used by Apple’s offices and retail stores in China, making Apple’s operations carbon neutral in China.
“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The transition to a new green economy requires innovation, ambition and purpose. We believe passionately in leaving the world better than we found it and hope that many other suppliers, partners and other companies join us in this important effort.”
Apple has taken significant steps to protect the environment by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Today the company is powering 100 percent of its operations in China and the US, and more than 87 percent of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy.
Apple is not by any means alone in its movement toward being “green” and neither is the movement in China, one of largest producers of air pollution, if not the largest recently. The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan has pushed for similar commitments by all major U.S. companies, and a number have agreed to meet the administration’s goals.
Apple continues to promote its “green” activity in China, but as a trend, it is nothing new.