The new iPhone’s are greener, as Apple prepares for a tougher sustainability test

During its annual keynote event last night (Indian Time), Apple announced that the new models of the iPhone will incorporate more and more renewable and recyclable materials that will be sourced responsibly.

In its annual keynote event held at the Steve Jobs theatre last night, Apple unveiled its new range of iPhone devices. The aftermath of which can be witnessed on all your timelines. But, one thing you might have missed from the event is that Apple have committed to sourcing materials for their devices more responsibly. Sometimes criticised for its ‘silo’ like approach to its manufacturing, which does not allow even accessories like chargers etc to be interchangeable with other devices like Android Devices, the announcements will hopefully mark a decisive shift to more work by Apple in sustainability.

Lisa Jackson at the Keynote Event

Speaking at the event,  Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson, announced that Apple now runs on 100% renewable energy globally. From its campuses, data centers to all its outlets now run on 100% green energy. “We can’t stop repeating it because we’re extremely proud of this accomplishment,” she said as she spoke about the accomplishment the company realised back in April.  Of curse, keep in mind that this claimed 100% renewable figure includes Renewable Energy Certificate purchases, which is in effect, virtue signalling than anything else.

“We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it. After years of hard work we’re proud to have reached this significant milestone,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Reiterating Apple’s commitment to the environment, Lisa further announced that even the materials to make its latest hardware will be recycled too. As, the company looks to transition away from traditional plastics to recycled ones, making their devices sturdy enough to last longer.

The Logic Board on the latest iPhones, which hold the all new A12 bionic chip are made of recycled tin, due to this one change the company claims that globally they will reduce the mining of tin ore by nearly 10,000 tonnes. A significant portion of the cover glass frame is made from a 32 percent bio-based plastic. The company claims that all these changes in the frame and the logic board have been made without compromising on any of the performance, they added that the reinforced glass frame is actually tougher.

Lastly, Apple gave more information about its GiveBack program, making it easier for customers to return their old devices. Through the giveback program if the devices are in any  usable form, the customers will get the value in return. Apple will recycle these device free of cost, as it moves into a new era focused on sustainability.
For a company of Apple’s size and scale, we believe these efforts, while welcome, need to be backed by a lot more efforts, as the firm effectively follows an outsourced model  where the biggest component of energy consumption is done at its suppliers ends. So claims like 100% renewable and more need to be treated accordingly.Recycling is wonderful, but might have been done simply because it also makes business sense finally, a fact that remains, unfortunately, the ultimate measure of any more big business seems to make when it comes to the environment.

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