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Apple’s $4.7B Seed Money Plants 43 New Green Projects

A new report details $550 million spent on environmentally friendly projects since 2019, including a high-tech carbon-free aluminum that is ending up in Apple products.

Apple spent $220 million on 43 environmentally friendly projects in 2021, the company said Thursday. That fuels the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant’s $4.7 billion Green Bond effort started in 2016.

Since 2019, 50 projects totaling $550 million have been funded. The projects met Apple’s requirements for low carbon design and engineering, energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon mitigation and carbon sequestration. Apple said the environmental benefits tallied include the mitigation of 2.9 million tons of CO2 emissions, 1.85 million megawatt-hours of annual renewable energy generation, and 699 megawatts of newly installed renewable energy capacity.

“Apple is committed to leaving the planet better than we found it, and our Green Bonds are a key tool to drive our environmental efforts forward,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, in a statement.

Apple has used some of the resulting green initiatives to bolster sustainability in its own products, including the production of carbon-free “green aluminum” now used in every new iPad model and the lastest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini and Apple Watch. Elysis is the company behind the smelting process that produces oxygen instead of greenhouse gases. By switching to recycled aluminum and aluminum smelted using hydroelectricity instead of fossil fuels, Apple said its carbon emissions associated with aluminum have decreased by nearly 70 percent since 2015.

“This is the first time aluminum has been produced at this commercial purity, without any greenhouse gas emission and at industrial scale,” said Elysis CEO Vincent Christ. “The sale to Apple confirms the market’s interest in aluminum produced using our breakthrough … technology. We are excited to be working alongside Apple on this advancement, which has the potential to make lasting changes in how aluminum is produced.”

Across all technology segments, companies are making investments in sustainability to meet increasing global requirements to curb climate change. In total, Apple has issued $4.7 billion to accelerate progress toward the company’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral across its supply chain by 2030, according to a press release.

Tony Glinski, director of Apple business for Peachtree Corners, Va.-based MSP Stratix, said the green moves are also about smarter business. “From both our market research and conversations with our customers, we know what a significant priority sustainability is for enterprise organizations. I’m thrilled about this investment by Apple. It’s not only the right thing to do, but I think it’s going to help Apple grow its business market share.”

The green effort has grown to include the world’s largest on-shore wind turbines, which power Apple’s dada center in Viborg, Denmark. Surplus energy from that operation flows back to the Danish electric grid. Over the next year, Apple plans to expand the Viborg data center and build new infrastructure to capture excess heat energy.

“Our investments are advancing the breakthrough technologies needed to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials we use, even as we move to using only recyclable and renewable materials across our products to conserve the earth’s finite resources,” Apple’s Jackson said.

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