On 6th September 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed Apple Inc’s 2021 Environmental Progress Report, the most recent available, covering the financial year 2020.
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 energy for its Apple facilitites, materials found in its technology products, 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 report featured past achievements including transitioning to 100% renewable energy for its Apple facilities and having carbon neutral corporate operations since April 2020. The company was considered to demonstrate reasonable understanding of its environmental impacts.
However, the report included only one dated and quantified future environmental target to "achieve carbon neutrality for [its] entire carbon footprint by 2030, and reach [its] science-based emissions reduction target". Its other stated goal to "create products with net zero carbon impact by 2030" was not deemed reasonable as it did not relate to or make assurances regarding its current product offerings or emissions.
Third-party assurance was provided by Apex for Apple's consumption in its worldwide occupied properties regarding: energy, renewable energy, water withdrawal, greenhouse gas, waste quantities and disposition, paper quantities and robustness of methodology for data capture. 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 reasonable 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.
Environmental Progress Report 2021 (17 March 2021)