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Apple Increased Carbon Footprint in 2014

Apple logoApple released its 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report, noting a slightly greater than 1 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 to 2014.

Apple generated about 34.2 million metric tons of GHG in 2014, an increase from 33.8 million in 2013. The company says the increase in GHG emissions was primarily due to increased sales of its products and the production needs associated with increased memory and storage capacity of its iOS devices and notebooks.

While the company’s overall GHG emissions have increased, Apple says it is reducing the carbon intensity associated with making and using its products. Emissions associated with produce use decreased 7 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Although Apple facilities represent only 1 percent of its carbon footprint, the company’s increased use of renewable energy has allowed it to make significant inroads in reducing facility emissions. Between 2011 and 2014, the company has reduced its effective Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 48 percent, reporting just under 100,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions from natural gas and electricity use in 2014.

Over 80 percent of the paper and corrugated cardboard used in Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV packaging in 2014 came from certified sustainably managed forests, controlled wood sources or recycled materials. The company’s goal is to source 100 percent of the fibers it uses in product packaging from these sources. Apple is working with The Conservation Fund to buy more than 36,000 acres of forests in Maine and North Carolina, which will be harvested sustainably and used in product packaging.

Apple collected 40,396 metric tons of e-waste through its take-back programs in 2014; however, the rate of landfill diversion at Apple corporate offices and retail stores decreased from 74 percent in 2013 to 68 percent in 2014. The company is currently undertaking a facility waste audit to identify opportunities for improvement.

Water use increased 13 percent from 2013 to 2014, driven primarily by the cooling needs at Apple data centers. Apple is focusing on water usage reduction efforts at its data centers to help reduce water consumption. Its North Carolina data center has deployed a cooling system that reuses water 35 times, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in overall water use. The company is building newer data centers in locations that rely heavily on outdoor air for cooling.

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