The Apple logo might have gone from rainbow to black over the years, but the company is getting greener every day. A few days ago, Apple made two announcements that impressed environmentalists around the world. In the first, the iPhone maker shared the news that it has purchased 36,000 acres of forest land for the express purpose of protecting it from future development. The other announcement was about two new solar farm projects which are already under construction in China, duplicating clean energy efforts the company has already made here in the U.S.
Apple bought the forest lands, situated in Maine and North Carolina, in part to ensure that the company has a sustainable source for the packaging for some of their products. Although the forests will be protected from development, Apple will harvest some wood from the acreage, which is roughly equivalent to the footprint of the city of San Francisco. Hopefully, this move will spur other businesses to think in a more holistic way about their manufacturing process and get involved in the sourcing of sustainable raw materials as a method for greening their final products.
In conjunction with this announcement, Apple also revealed its plans to build two new 20 megawatt solar farms in China in partnership with SunPower. Together, the farms will produce as much as 80 million kilowatt-hours per year, which is sent to the grid in those local areas, directly benefiting residents and businesses with clean energy.
Critics of Apple’s environmental efforts, including Greenpeace, are starting to change their tune about the iPhone giant. Although Apple’s footprint in China still weighs heavily on the minds of many conservationists, many are feeling that Apple is making good headway toward balancing their environmental impact. Apple has been making a huge push for solar power in recent projects, including several solar farms stateside, and the construction of their new California headquarters, which is planned to be 100 percent solar-powered by its completion.