Apple announced earlier this year that it has officially achieved its 100 percent renewable energy goal. But the tech giant’s climate action plan did not stop there.
Apple announced a new clean energy investment fund in China that seeks to develop more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy — or the equivalent of powering nearly 1 million homes.
Over the next four years, Apple and 10 initial suppliers will jointly invest nearly $300 million in the China Clean Energy Fund. The first-of-its-kind investment vehicle is designed to connect suppliers with renewable energy resources, which is a particularly challenging process for smaller companies.
By virtue of its size and scale, the China Clean Energy Fund will give greater purchasing power to program participants, as well as the ability to attain more attractive and diverse renewable energy solutions. The power purchased with support of the fund will specifically serve Apple and its selected supplier partners.
The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed by DWS Group, which will also contribute to the fund. The initial participating suppliers include: Catcher Technology, Compal Electronics, Corning Incorporated, Golden Arrow, Jabil, Luxshare-ICT, Pegatron, Solvay, Sunway Communication and Wistron.
“We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, in a statement.
Increasing the use of renewables in its supply chain has been a top priority for Apple. According to the company’s latest environment report, manufacturing makes up 77 percent of the multinational tech company’s carbon footprint. Most of those emissions are from the electricity used to make product parts.
“So we’re sourcing lower-carbon materials, partnering with suppliers to reduce their energy use, and helping them switch to renewable energy,” the report states. “We believe that together we can transform the manufacturing process to dramatically reduce emissions.”
Apple and other large companies have been leading the way on corporate renewables procurement. In April, Apple announced that its global facilities are now powered by 100 percent clean energy. That includes all retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities in 43 countries. At that time, the company had 25 operational renewable energy plants worldwide, with 15 more under construction.
More and more suppliers are now starting to follow suit. Apple launched its Supplier Clean Energy Program in 2015, and since then 23 manufacturing partners, operating in more than 10 different countries, have committed to powering all of their Apple production with 100 percent clean energy.
Apple and its supplier partners are on track to collectively generate more than 4 gigawatts of new clean energy worldwide by 2020, representing one-third of Apple’s current manufacturing electricity footprint.
Apple is also looking at new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In May, the company backed a new joint venture with Alcoa Corporation and Rio Tinto Aluminum for zero-carbon aluminum smelting.