Apple Wants China to Be Green, for Very Small Investment

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China is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world, as they choke on dirty air. Its rivers are renowned as the home for deadly chemicals. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) wants to end some of that and plans to pay to do so.

Apple plans to get some of its suppliers to foot much of the bill for its China Green Energy Fund, which will eventually grow close to $300 million. Among the suppliers are Catcher Technology, Compal Electronics, Corning, Golden Arrow, Jabil, Luxshare-ICT, Pegatron, Solvay, Sunway Communication and Wistron. It is not clear what each will put into the fund, or if Apple supplies most of the money.

The scale of the plan seems large at $300 million, but on the kind of scale China represents, the investment is minimal. Apple management wrote:

The fund will invest in and develop clean energy projects totaling more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy in China, the equivalent of powering nearly 1 million homes.

China has over 1.3 billion residents and hundreds of millions of households. A study by 24/7 Wall St. showed that many of the 25 most polluted cities in the world are in China. Part of the research came from the World Health Organization. Research shows that air pollution kills as many as a million people in China each year.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said as the company announced the initiative:

At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge. We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet.

The plan can’t be labeled anything more than a drop in the bucket.

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