As noted by Inside Climate News, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), says in a Sept. 22 report that the company may be “climate-washing,” or overstating its efforts to address climate change. From the report:

What is puzzling is that with the global smartphone shipments down 12%3 in 2022, Apple’s supply chain emissions data, which we have collected through various channels, shows that carbon emissions from some of its suppliers have only decreased slightly, and in some cases have even increased. We believe there is a need for full disclosure and explanation of how Apple achieves carbon neutrality of its products, given the increase in carbon emissions from some of its suppliers.

Disappointingly, precisely in 2023, Apple has stopped requiring suppliers to publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions data for a technical reason, repeatedly and explicitly responding to environmental group that “we may not request suppliers to provide facility level carbon disclosure this year”.

Behind the seemingly contradictory performance, does Apple’s carbon neutrality ‘milestone’ reflect a genuine and substantial reduction in carbon emissions from the manufacturing process of various products, or is it more a case of cherry-picking limited green resources to achieve “numerical” carbon neutrality? The carbon footprint of the new flagship iPhone is higher than that of its predecessor – is it more carbon intensive in its design and manufacture, or has its allocation of clean electricity decreased? 

How does Apple’s announcement that its products are carbon neutral, while the carbon emissions of some of its suppliers are increasing rather than decreasing, have any material significance in leading the way for large-scale reductions in this industry that expects its emission to keep increasing? With only seven years left till Apple to achieve its publicly stately commitment to become carbon neutral across its value chain, how does NOT requiring suppliers to disclose carbon emissions data prevent the risk of climate-washing?

In response to IPE’s latest report, Apple responded that the carbon neutrality of its Apple Watch line has been independently verified by SCS Global Services, a “leader in environmental standards and certification.”

“By far, the most impactful action a supplier can take to address climate change is to transition to renewable energy,” Apple said in a written statement, as noted by Inside Climate News. “That’s why we work closely with suppliers to help them procure more renewables and advocate together for reliable, cost-effective access to clean electricity in grids around the world.”

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today