Interview with Apple sustainability boss Lisa Jackson

The newly acquired suppliers have undertaken to ensure that a total of nine gigawatts of new production capacity for renewable energies is created, according to the group. In an interview with Handelsblatt, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for the environment, politics and social initiatives, said there were still hundreds left. “But we were able to win a mixture of large and small companies for the program.” For example, all companies that take on the final assembly of the current product series for the iPhone manufacturer are covered. Climate neutrality is becoming an exclusion criterion for Apple. “It’s also about competition,” said Jackson.

Apple announced that the additional partners will save a total of 18 million tons of CO2 worldwide. That corresponds roughly to the emissions of four million cars per year. Apple has been working emission-free in its own production for a long time.

Read the entire interview here:

Ms. Jackson, Apple announced on Wednesday that 175 suppliers have now committed to using clean energy sources to cover their energy consumption by 2030. How many are you still missing?
We probably have hundreds left. But we were able to attract a mix of large and small companies to the program. All companies that take on our final assembly, for example, are among them. This applies to all of the products that we recently announced. We have hundreds of large suppliers and many, many small ones. We all want to achieve them.

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How are you going to do that? Will some of your suppliers have to look for another customer in the future?
We are very transparent about that. We want to have completely converted our supply chain to clean energy by 2030. We want to go there. It’s also about competition – we make decisions about our supply chain every day. Right now we are working with our suppliers.

In the past, many companies simply did not address how to deal with clean energy in purchasing. They took care of their business. That is why we look forward to supporting them on their way, for example in talks with their governments.

What role will compensation measures such as capturing and storing CO2 underground or reforestation play in order to compensate for the damage caused by coal-fired electricity, for example?
This is not a cornerstone of our strategy. It’s really about access to energy. 90 percent of the suppliers we work with buy direct clean energy. They go to their supplier and say: “I want to buy clean energy.” Some of them have also installed their own systems on their factory premises.

Later there is still enough space to talk about compensation measures, for example for emissions that cannot be avoided through the use of green energy. For example in logistics and shipping, where there is currently no alternative. But that doesn’t apply to cases like the power grid, where we know how to decarbonise.

There are already companies in Germany who, due to the lack of renewable energies, are investing in wind farms themselves in order to secure their own supply. To what extent does Apple want to help its suppliers here?
First of all, we can educate and provide information. We did it: we carried out our own clean energy projects and financed others. We know how to get clean energy on the grid. We can also work on policy reforms with our suppliers. Most of them are happy to encourage their own governments to create incentives, for example, to buy green energy.

Clean energy should be at least competitive or even cheaper than conventional forms because the operating costs are very low. But there are also cases, such as our clean energy fund in China, in which we invest in projects for the generation of clean energy together with our suppliers.

Which part of it plays the biggest role?
It might come as a surprise, but the education and information part is the most important part for most of our suppliers. They lack the expertise. You want to make sure that every investment that goes into clean energy really leads to new energy being fed into the grid. This is very important for most of them – and for us too, of course.

There are many factors that the companies themselves cannot directly influence.
It is also about political barriers. The electricity grid is not clean and companies have no way of adding new capacity. In this case, some suppliers appreciate it when we help them address their governments.

In doing so, we can make it clear, for example, that access to clean energy for the companies there is one of the criteria that may encourage us to invest more in the respective country. We are very successful with this in some countries.

Thank you for the interview.

More: Apple introduces new Airpods and Macbooks – the most important innovations.

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