The tech giants of SIlicon Valley don’t look kindly upon intellectual property theft. Even the late Steve Jobs considered Android operating systems to be a “stolen product” — and for that, he found them deplorable.
But when it comes to combatting climate change, Apple has actually put out an open invitation for others to follow its lead.
For years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been intensifying efforts to make his company greener, starting first by ending its reliance on coal and transitioning to clean power.
Corporate Responsibility For Climate Change
Tim Cook firmly believes that climate change is a legitimate threat, and that people should stop trying to deny it. At Boxworks, Cook also said that the private sector has a responsibility to take action on climate change, as government actors have not done enough to advance progress.
Apple is the eighth largest company in the world, giving it the potential to instigate change on a large scale.
While initially created to serve the consumer, Apple’s growth has made it a formidable presence in the professional working environment.
For this reason, Apple is well on its way to becoming an enterprise company. With the company in such high standing, Cook typically hasn’t been one to hold back his feelings on those who are not interested in furthering its mission towards sustainability.
When asked about his motives for going green, and the impact it has on company earnings, he told those who were only interested in return of investment to “get out of this stock.” While Tim Cook is known for his calm demeanor, this was one of the few times in his career where he’s become visibly angry during a public appearance.
It looks like Cook’s zeal is paying off. Within the past few years, Apple has made significant progress in greenifying its U.S. operations. In response to Greenpeace’s 2012 complaint that the powering of Apple’s massive iCloud service significantly contributes to coal pollution, Apple pledged that by 2013, all of its data centers would run on 100 percent renewable energy — and they accomplished just that.
In 2016, Apple invested in Goldwind Science & Technology, the world’s largest wind power turbine maker. The projects Apple is backing plan to generate wind energy that will then be sold to iPhone manufacturer plants in China, where it will replace coal as the primary source of energy production.
The Goal: 100% Renewable Retail Stores
All of Apple’s data centers run on either solar, wind or geothermal energy, but Apple doesn’t want to stop there. In 2014, Apple announced that its next plan was to extend renewable energy power to all of its retail stores — a goal they reached in the U.S. in 2015.
Now, 100 percent of Apple’s U.S. operations and data centers run on renewable energy. Globally, that number has reached 93 percent, with Apple continuing to expand its environmental protection initiatives overseas. In May of this year, Apple announced several new projects in China that will ideally better its corporate sustainability practices there.
One is a long-term project with the World Wildlife Fund that aims to preserve forests across China. If realized, the initiative will help China efficiently manage its paper industry’s consumption of land and water, without deterring its ability to meet rigorous production quotas.
Expected to take five years, the project will shine a light the future of sustainable forestry in China.
Apple is also committed to powering all of its operation on a global scale with 100 percent renewable energy, including China’s. That’s why Apple has partnered with several Chinese power companies to complete the Sichuan Province solar project, which is expected to generate up to 80 million kilowatts an hour per year of clean energy.
In a conversation with Fortune Senior Editor Adam Lashinksy, Apple VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson admitted that the initiative would be a difficult one to accomplish, since the settings of stores vary greatly. Nonetheless, sustainability is one of Tim Cook’s top priorities, and Apple continues to trudge forward.
Apple is leading the movement towards environmental responsibility in big business. The transition to cleaner energy use and smarter use of the environment will propel businesses towards the pursuit of sustainability.
Read more about Apple’s commitment to environmental responsibility here.