© Unsplash/Carlos Rabada
It's written in large format on Apple's official website. As a good responsible company, the apple brand has succeeded in combining ecology and economic growth. With the Apple Watch Series 9, it manages to produce a “carbon neutral” connected watch.
In other words, Apple recovers as much CO2 (or equivalent) as the production of the watch does not produce any. Behind this magnificent marketing speech, several organizations quickly expressed doubts about the reality of production at Apple.
The public institute of environmental affairs (IPÉ), a non-profit organization based in Beijing, just released a report on Apple. In the latter it is written that Apple must absolutely “ explain how Apple achieves carbon neutrality of its products, taking into account the increase in carbon emissions of some of its suppliers. »
According to Apple, the latest smartwatches are “carbon neutral” thanks to Apple's work on the use of more environmentally friendly materials, but also cleaner electricity. This pollution due to production is significantly lower than on other models. It was then counterbalanced by ecological projects led or subsidized by Apple.
A glaring lack of transparency
Apple proudly explains that nearly 300 suppliers announced the use of 100% clean electricity by 2030. But according to the IPÉ report, Apple has actually relaxed environmental controls on its suppliers.
For the first time in years, the Cupertino company no longer asks these companies to produce an annual report on greenhouse gas emissions. Looking at the evolution of production and pollution emissions, Apple's suppliers would not have made any effort. The situation would have even gotten worse in several cases.
“Despite a 12% drop in global shipments (on smartphones), Apple's supply chain emissions data, which we collected through various channels, shows that emissions carbon emissions of some of its suppliers have only slightly decreased and, in some cases, are even increasing.”
Clean energy, a communication myth
The report regrets a lack of transparency on the part of Apple. “How can we publicly verify that the manufacturing process for the three carbon-neutral Apple Watch products uses 100% clean electricity?”knowing that manufacturers are not obliged to publish a report on their impact on the environment.
As the report recalls, many companies today say they operate with clean energy. By making simple additions, IPÉ members know that there are liars in the group. The Earth simply does not produce enough renewable energy to ensure the electrification of all these societies. In order to identify the good performers from the bad performers, the report asks Apple to be more transparent about its carbon impact.
Apple overall must become neutral
Apple's announcement on September 12 was a big step forward for the Apple brand. But the latter cannot be limited to the production of “carbon neutral” products; and others which are disasters for the planet.
The Cupertino company will not be able to complete its transition in a few months, but it must work in this direction to achieve its own carbon neutrality targets by 2030. In its latest report (which dates from 2022), Apple reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 million tonnes in a few years.
Thus, the firm emitted 38.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2015. This figure fell to 20 million tonnes in 2022. It should fall below this symbolic limit this year.