Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Apple updates environmental progress, focuses on climate change, finite resources

Dan Moren | April 22, 2014
Just in time for Earth Day, Apple has updated its environmental site with the latest information about the many green initiatives it has put in place. Most prominently, the company has assembled a video, narrated by CEO Tim Cook, speaking about how Apple applies its overriding philosophy--striving to make better products--to its commitment to the environment.

Overall, 73 percent of the company's facilities are powered by renewable energy, but the company isn't giving up. It's even rolled out renewable energy to 120 of its U.S. retail stores this year, with plans to expand to more.

Apple hopes to improve the environmental friendliness of its facilities even further when it finishes construction on its new 'spaceship' campus. A video on the company's site discusses the design process, as well as the goal of making the new buildings fit in with the surrounding environment — including the planting of more than 6000 new trees.

In addition to its energy-friendly facilities, the company emphasizes the power efficiency of its own products, pointing out that it has reduced the average total power consumed by its devices by 57 percent since 2008, as well as the increased efficiency of transporting said products, thanks to smaller packaging — over the lifetime of the iPhone, the company has been able to up the number of units in each airplane shipping container by 60 percent, meaning fewer flights.

Finite resources

Energy's not the only thing Apple's using more efficiently. The company's also trying to make better use of the physical materials from which it constructs its products. In part that simply means making the products smaller, as with the iPad Air — 31 percent less material, by weight, than the original iPad — or the current iMac, which has 40 percent less volume than its predecessor. And then there's the brand new Mac Pro, which Apple says saves a significant 74 percent in aluminum and steel compared to the old cheese-grater model.

But another, and perhaps more important, factor is making sure that its products last longer. Every company wants its products to be durable, of course, but here Apple touts not only the testing of its cables, screens, and buttons, but also the fact that it maintains a long lifetime for its products — to wit, OS X Mavericks runs on Mac hardware going back as far as 2007. And its devices live a lengthy second life by being passed on to friends and family.

The proof, the company says, is in the numbers. Apple takes back not only its own products for recycling, but also those of competitors', and the company says 90 percent of what it recycles comes from products that it doesn't make.

Recycling is an important program for Apple, which in 2010 set a goal of recycling 70 percent of the products, by weight, that it made seven years prior. The company says it has "consistently" reached 85 percent, while competitors have languished around 20 percent. In addition, Apple's also working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help reduce the amount of material that's wasted, instead focusing on transforming and reusing it.


Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.