The world's largest technology company has vowed to stop mining the Earth and rely exclusively on recycled materials to make its iPhones, iPads, and other electronic equipment, as announced this week in its 2017 Environment Responsibility Report.
The iPhone giant has faced criticism in the past for using resources that are often associated with mines that use children as young as seven, in war-torn regions, and in places where environmental protections aren't well-regulated.
"We believe our goal should be a closed-loop supply chain, where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material", the company said.
Apple has been testing using faster processors based on a smaller 10-nanometer production process for all three new models, a person familiar with Apple's chip plans said.
Apple suppliers have so far struggled to reliably produce heavily curved glass in mass quantities, so the company is more likely to ship the version with more subdued curves, the person added. "I think trying to pretend that we can sort of make it easy to fix the product, and that you get the product that you think you're buying - that you want - isn't the answer", Jackson said. Apple has a history of pushing for better environmental responsibility and is an advocate for better working conditions, so it makes sense that the company wants to distance itself from these mining and labor issues.
Most of what's inside the iPhone right now doesn't come from recycled material. "We don't question these realities - we challenge ourselves to ask what we can do about them in every part of our business", Apple said in the report.
Vice News called the move unprecedented for the tech industry, and spoke to Lisa Jackson, the former administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency who now heads environment initiatives for Apple.
Apple Inc. pledged that it will stop its reliance on mined raw materials like gold and aluminum for its devices. "I think a product that lasts is really important, and a lot of people buy Apple products because they know they do last", Jackson said. The only problem with that line of thinking is that Apple has no idea how to make it happen... and the company is pretty straightforward about that fact. UBS forecasts Apple is likely to ratchet down the royalty rate it now pays of around US$0.30 to closer to US$0.10 - the rate Imagination charges customers such as MediaTek.
The report also reveals that in 2016 Apple sourced 96 per cent of the energy it used at its global facilities from renewable energy, reducing the firm's carbon emissions by nearly 585,000 metric tonnes.