Apple has announced a new environment initiative called the Restore Fund, as part of the expansion of the tech giant’s sustainability initiatives. The Restore Fund is a unique carbon removal initiative and will make investments in projects to strengthen the forest cover in an attempt to remove carbon from the earth’s atmosphere. This is a $200 million fund and Apple is working with Conservation International and Goldman Sachs to remove at least 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere. Simply put, that is around the same amount as the fuel used by 200,000 passenger vehicles globally. The Restore Fund furthers Apple’s forestry conservation projects globally and ties in with the use of more and more sustainable packaging for the products such as the Apple iPhone, which have already adopted significant environment and sustainability measures over the years.
Apple has confirmed plans to become carbon neutral across its entire chain by the year 2030. There are initiatives in place to eliminate as much as 75% of emissions from the supply chain and products, with the Restore Fund helping address the remaining 25% emissions by removing carbon from the earth’s atmosphere. Restoring the tree cover is important, as trees absorb carbon. Researchers estimate that tropical forests hold more carbon than humans have emitted through various activities including industries over the past 30 years. This also includes burning coal, oil and natural gas, even though deforestation is happening rapidly around the world. Apple’s sustainability mission for responsible packaging has been gathering steam since 2017, when all of the virgin wood fiber used in Apple’s product packaging came from responsible sources and managed working forests. This was also Apple’s first closed-loop material to make packaging and products using only recycled or renewable materials. A year before that, in 2016, Apple launched the iPhone with majority-fibre packaging. As things stand, the latest Apple iPhone 12 series comes in packaging that is made of 93% fiber-based materials, which includes a fiber based screen cover and replaces the standard plastic film.
“Nature provides some of the best tools to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Forests, wetlands, and grasslands draw carbon from the atmosphere and store it away permanently in their soils, roots, and branches,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “Through creating a fund that generates both a financial return as well as real, and measurable carbon impacts, we aim to drive broader change in the future — encouraging investment in carbon removal around the globe. Our hope is that others share our goals and contribute their resources to support and protect critical ecosystems.” The Restore Fund will work with international standards for controlling and eliminating carbon emissions. These have been developed by organizations including Verra, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UN Climate Convention. Apple hopes that these partnerships for the Restore Fund will help scale it to make this attractive to businesses too, while tackling issues such as climate change and carbon emissions. In partnerships with The Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund, Apple has further expanded the management of as much as 1 million acres of working forests in the United States and China, since 2015.
“We all agree that the urgency of climate transition requires private capital to work alongside new and established efforts aimed at sustainably removing carbon from the atmosphere with rigor and high standards. We believe launching this fund can catalyze significant additional investment capital for climate impact,” says Dina Powell, Global Head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth at Goldman Sachs. In addition, Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International says, “Investing in nature can remove carbon far more effectively — and much sooner — than any other current technology. As the world faces the global threat climate change presents, we need innovative new approaches that can dramatically reduce emissions.” He hopes the Restore Fund will make a difference and benefit communities with new jobs and revenue which will further help support education and healthcare in those regions. Apple’s forestry initiatives have been ongoing. In 2018, Apple partnered with Conservation International, local government, and conservation organizations in Colombia to protect and restore a 27,000-acre mangrove forest in the country. Apple and Conservation International have also partnered with local conservation organizations in Kenya to restore degraded savannas and areas between three national parks which also cross the border into Tanzania.