These initiatives include a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to protect forests used in the production of paper packaging for Apple items, as well as an effort to increase the use of renewable energy in factories that supply Apple components.
According to the WWF, China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of paper products. Its partnership with Apple is a five-year project meant to reduce the amount of water and pollution created during the paper production process by implementing new forestry techniques, growing tree plantations instead of harvesting wood pulp from natural forests, and increasing the use of recycled paper.
Apple’s announcement comes three weeks after it said that it will build solar power plants in Sichuan Province with several Chinese companies including SunPower. Apple has already worked with SunPower on projects in the U.S., including solar panel farms for data centers in Reno and North Carolina.
The Cupertino-based company says that 87 percent of its global operations — including data centers, retail stores and offices — currently run on renewable energy and the Sichuan Province project “will bring Apple even closer to its commitment to reach 100 percent.”
China is not only one of Apple’s main sources for components, but also among its most important markets. Last quarter, revenue from iPhone sales there rose 71 percent to $16.8 billion. This means that the company’s environmental initiatives are more than just public relations boosters—if they succeed, they can make a sizable impact.