In May 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed Apple Inc’s 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report, the most recent available, covering the financial year 2018.
A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
The report addressed several areas in which the company had an environmental impact, including waste and recycling, water use, toxics, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacturing, transportation, use, and end of life of its products.
The report also contained disclosure of Apple’s greenhouse gas emissions broken down by source, scope and location.
The company was considered to demonstrate reasonable understanding of its environmental impacts.
It should be noted that the report did show some commendable achievements including transitioning 100% of electricity supply to the company's facilities to renewables and a 35% reduction in overall carbon footprint between 2015 and 2018.
However, the report included only one dated and quantified future environmental target:
“By 2020, Apple and our suppliers will generate or procure at least 4 gigawatts of clean energy in our supply chain.”
Third-party assurance was provided by Bureau Veritas for facilities energy, carbon, waste, paper and water data, and Apple’s Supplier clean energy program. Fraunhofer Institute provided assurance for product life cycle, carbon footprint, comprehensive fiber footprint and packaging plastic footprint data.
Although the information in the report covered Apple's main environmental impacts and the report was externally verified, the lack of two future dated, quantified targets meant that Apple received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and the company lost a whole mark in this category.
Apple Envirnmental Responsibility Report 2019 (2019)