While the company committed to 100 percent clean energy for its datacenters in 2014, today’s announcement includes everything from retail stores and offices to datacenters and co-located facilities across 43 countries. Apple also said that nine more manufacturing partners — now totaling 23 suppliers — have committed to powering all Apple production with 100 percent clean energy.
“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 Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”
Apple noted that it currently has 25 operational renewable energy projects around the world, with 15 more in construction. In 2017 alone, it brought 286 megawatts of its 626-megawatt total generation capacity online, with plans to have over 1.4 gigawatts of clean energy generation spread across 11 countries. The projects include wind farms, solar arrays, biogas fuel cells, micro-hydro generation systems, and energy storage technologies.
Third-party suppliers committing to use clean energy for Apple production include two polymer makers, European soft goods supplier ECCO Leather, China-based iPhone manufacturer Pegatron, and Taiwanese Mac manufacturer Quanta Computer. Apple notes that its own energy projects have prevented 2.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, while its suppliers have avoided over 1.5 million metric tons just in 2017, equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road.
Apple’s announcement comes less than a week after Google said that it had purchased enough clean energy from Google-supplying wind or solar farms to “match” its consumption of electricity in 2017 — 3 gigawatts. “This makes us the first public Cloud, and company of our size, to have achieved this feat,” Google explained at the time.
Update at 9:34 a.m. Pacific, April 10: Apple’s announcement was somewhat misleading, The Verge has confirmed, as the company is actually using Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to purchase enough clean energy to offset its facilities’ use of non-renewable energy. While this may be practically necessary given how many of Apple’s facilities operate in shopping malls and other locations without access to clean power, it overstates the current scope of the company’s sourcing, which mirrors rather than surpassing Google’s.