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Apple takes green initiatives in China

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar power? renewable energy? iPhone? iPad? greenhouse gas?

Apple plans to produce 2.2GW of solar power and other renewable energy in China to cut air pollution brought by factories that have made millions of iPhones and iPads in the past eight years.

The U.S. tech giant is working with Chinese suppliers to decrease their carbon emissions, which are believed to cause climate change. Between now and 2020, Apple estimates it can slash as much as 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution if its suppliers will rely on renewable energy. This amount is said to be equivalent to removing 4 million cars off the road for one year.

Since replacing the late Steve Jobs as the company's CEO four years ago, Tim Cook has made it a higher priority for Apple to protect the environment.

The iPhone maker will finance panels that can produce about 200MW of solar power in the northern, eastern and southern grid regions of China, where its suppliers are located. This is equivalent to the amount of energy used by more than 265,000 Chinese homes in a year and will begin to offset the energy used in Apple's supply chain.

In addition, Apple will partner with Chinese suppliers to install the remaining 2GW of renewable energy, which will be a combination of solar, wind and hydroelectric. The company can easily go green as it has $203 billion in cash as of June.

New green economy

Foxconn vows to contribute 400MW of solar power by building solar panels in China's Henan Province by 2018, committing to generate as much clean energy as its Zhengzhou factory consumes when making iPhones. The Taiwanese contract manufacturing company owns the factory that assembles most iPhones.

"Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement. "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 said it has completed the construction of 40MW of solar projects in the Sichuan Province, claiming that it is now "carbon neutral" because the said installations generate electricity that is more than the total amount used by Apple's offices and stores in China.

Apple is doing the same thing on its home turf. It recently teamed up with First Solar to establish a solar energy farm in California worth $850 million. The company also claims that its operations both in China and in the United States are 100 per cent powered by renewable energy, while 87 per cent of its worldwide operations use clean energy.

Greenpeace, an environmental advocacy group, praised Tim Cook's initiative, adding that it hopes other companies including Samsung and Microsoft will follow Apple's lead in manufacturing devices with a "21st century energy supply."

- Stephen Padilla

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