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Apple Announces New Environmental Initiatives in China

In a press release from earlier today, Apple announced two new environmental initiatives in China. The first is a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to increase the amount of responsibly managed forests in China, aiming to protect as much as 1 million acres of forestland.

“Forests, like energy, can be renewable resources,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We believe we can run on naturally renewable resources and ensure that we protect—and create—as much sustainable working forest as needed to produce the virgin paper in our product packaging. This is an important step toward that goal and our commitment to leave the world better than we found it.”

The second initiative is a project to build two 20-megawatt solar farms that will generate up to 80 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. In its press release, Apple also provided an update on their renewable energy progress, noting that 87 percent of Apple’s global operations today run on renewable energy.

“We’ve set an example by greening our data centers, retail stores and corporate offices, and we’re ready to start leading the way toward reducing carbon emissions from manufacturing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This won’t happen overnight—in fact it will take years—but it’s important work that has to happen, and Apple is in a unique position to take the initiative toward this ambitious goal. It is a responsibility we accept. We are excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation.”

Today’s announcement is just the latest in an increasingly long list of large projects Apple has undertaken to generate renewable energy and be environmentally responsible. I’d be fascinated to see if anyone in the renewable energy industry has done some research on just how significant Apple’s efforts have been, compared to other multinationals and governments.