Apple digs in on green with China solar, US forest projects

World Today

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, then EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson speaks at the 2012 Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department in Washington. Apple is expanding its environmental efforts by investing in a new Chinese solar power project and preserving 36,000 acres of “sustainable” timberland in Maine and North Carolina. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, then EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson speaks at the 2012 Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department in Washington. Apple is expanding its environmental efforts by investing in a new Chinese solar power project and preserving 36,000 acres of “sustainable” timberland in Maine and North Carolina. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In a quest to be more green, Apple says it is investing in Chinese solar power and preserving forests that make environmentally friendly paper.

The initiatives come as the tech giant this year met a self-imposed goal of powering all its U.S. operations with renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions — initiatives that have won high marks from environmental groups.

On Thursday, Apple announced a new focus on using paper from trees harvested under environmentally sound conditions. It’s also promising to use more renewable power overseas, where Apple relies heavily on contract manufacturers — and where a top executive acknowledged the company can do more.

“It’s important to us to tackle climate change everywhere we are,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, said. “When you talk about China, you’re talking about manufacturing partners. We’re looking to bring the same innovation there. This is the start.”

The new solar project in China has a capacity of 40 megawatts, which is smaller than some projects Apple has announced in the United States. By comparison, Apple is spending $850 million for rights to nearly half the output of a 280-megawatt solar facility planned for construction south of Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters. That project will produce enough energy to power all of Apple’s California offices, a computer center and 52 retail stores.

Still, the Chinese project will produce more than the amount of energy consumed by Apple’s 19 corporate offices and 21 retail stores in China and Hong Kong, Jackson said. She added that Apple uses renewable energy for 87 percent of the power at its facilities worldwide.

That figure, however, doesn’t include substantial power consumption by contract manufacturers. With the new project in China, Apple is looking to improve its own operations first.

Report by The Associated Press