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Apple CEO Cook touts green and renewable initiatives at United Nations

Apple CEO Cook touts green and renewable initiatives at United Nations


Apple’s Tim Cook has continually pushed environmental initiatives since becoming CEO in 2011.


Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t believe companies need to choose between success and helping the environment. And he plans to challenge other companies to take the same approach.

“The choice between the bottom line and the future of our planet is a false one, and each new green innovation offers the proof,” Cook’s expected to say according to prepared remarks at the UN Climate Ambition Summit Saturday.

As part of his speech, Cook touted that the company had added 25 suppliers to the 70 it was already helping  transition to 100% renewable energy. He also noted Apple’s other efforts, including that it became carbon neutral for its worldwide corporate emissions. 

Ultimately, Cook said, Apple wants its entire supply chain and product usage to be carbon neutral within a decade.

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Cook’s remarks follow a long history of Apple’s public efforts to reduce its impacts on the environment. It instituted environmental report cards for its devices in 2008. Since then, Apple’s slimmed its device packaging, reduced reliance on plastic in its devices, and begun integrating recycled materials into its devices. The company’s also created advanced robots to pull apart iPhones it can no longer refurbish, sending rare minerals, batteries and aluminum cases to be recycled and reused.

One of Apple’s biggest green initiatives this year was when it announced its newest Apple Watches and iPhone 12 headsets would not come with a power adapter brick. That change allowed the company to shrink the box its devices come in, saving space on store shelves and in shipping containers. Apple estimates the change will be the equivalent of taking tens of thousands of cars off the road.


No more of these in the box.


“Sometimes, it’s not what we make, but what we don’t make that counts,” Lisa P. Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives said at one of Apple’s product announcements in September. She added that Apple knows its customers are accumulating USB adapters and that making millions of them “consumes resources and adds to our carbon footprint.”

Environmental and sustainability experts commend Apple’s efforts. Critics noted the effort will likely increase Apple’s adapter sales to people who don’t already have one at home.

Though Apple’s made progress producing key products in more environmentally friendly ways, it struggles with some of its other ones. Apple’s AirPods headphones, for example, are sealed shut, meaning users can’t replace their batteries as they degrade over the years. Apple’s projected to sell 90 million AirPods this year, and up to 115 million next year, estimates Wedbush Securities.

Cook, in his planned speech, said companies need to dramatically step up their environmental efforts. “This is no time for changes at the margins,” he’s expected to say. “We call on companies and governments around the world to do all we can to make 2021 the year we turn the corner for good.”

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