Full Disclosure: I am a shareholder of Apple, Inc, which is often referred to as Apple Computer (its former name). After researching this piece, however, I am happy to say “ a proud shareholder”.
This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company is investing $1.5 Billion in a portion of a solar farm in Monterey County, California, which will power all of its corporate offices in California. Additionally, it is building a $2 Billion data center in Mesa, Arizona. In both cases, these facilities will be 100% powered by renewable energy sources.
Apple is the largest company in the World, with a Market Capitalization of $727 Billion. So, I just thought that these projects were profit-motivated. Locking in lower-cost power sources through long-term contracts reduces production costs. Reducing expenses can contribute to profitability just as much as increasing revenue. So, another good move by Apple.
But, the story goes much further. In 2006, Greenpeace called Apple out for using toxic chemicals in its products. Rather than fight the accusation, Apple committed to making itself greener. And since then, Apple plans to keep working toward making itself 100% Green, by totally eliminating its carbon footprint. In 2013, the company hired Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, as its Vice President of Environmental Initiatives.
Since 2007, Apple has used a number of renewable energy sources, such as: wind; solar; geothermal and micro-hydro. Throughout its global footprint, Apple uses a combination of sources for clean energy, including: on-site power generation; purchased power and it even requires co-located tenants in its facilities to use renewal power sources, as well. To date, Apple generates some 73% of its total worldwide power from renewable energy. But, the story doesn’t end there.
Both in the construction of new facilities or upgrading existing ones, the company strives to earn the LEED Platinum (highest) Certification from the highly-respected U.S. Green Building Council. Besides that, it also requires its suppliers to use only renewable energy, and it also monitors the energy used in its product on a lifetime basis. Apple has even reduced the packaging in its products, and designs them so as to maximize the number of products that might fit on a pallor, thus reducing the carbon generated in shipping. Employees may also opt to ride to work on electric-powered buses, and the trees around its campuses are drought-resistant–to reduce the need for irrigation.
Now, if Apple can fully commit itself to fighting Climate Change and, justify the costs by enhancing profitability, why hasn’t any other company also done so? The company has performed all this in just eight years. But, it is fully-committed to continuing until it fully reaches a Zero Carbon Footprint–Worldwide. In fact, when possible, it has even set goals for itself that are higher than the LEED Certification Standards. But, when will the other companies step-up: Google; JPMorgan Chase; Wal-Mart; Pfizer; GE; Humana; etc. The Planet is waiting!
NOTE: If environmental issues are really important to you, read the linked section from the Apple web site: http://www.apple.com/environment/climate-change/.