The technology giant’s second green bond was announced on Tuesday (13 June) and is the first corporate bond offered since US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to withdraw the nation from the Paris Agreement. Apple said the green bond highlights the business commitment to the historic climate accord.

“Leadership from the business community is essential to address the threat of climate change and protect our shared planet,” Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson said.

Apple was listed with more than 900 companies that signed up to the We Are Still In declaration, vowing to meet America’s contribution to the Paris Agreement once Trump pulls the nation out. Companies were joined by more than 120 towns and cities, including Washington, New York and Chicago, to formally examine non-state and sector climate actions and agree to a “societal contribution”.

The green bond proceeds will be used to finance renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects and initiatives at Apple facilities, although a specific focus will be given to the company’s supply chain.

Supplier focus

The company has been focusing on supply chain efficiency in recent months. Apple has tripled the number of supplier sites listed in its energy efficiency programme aimed at reducing onsite emissions, while also introducing a “first-of-its-kind” risk assessment tool covering supply chain risks related to material sourcing, environmental impact and health and safety.

Suppliers will also be encouraged to embrace the circular economy. Apple has pledged to “go deeper” in developing new closed-loop products by using only renewable resources or recycled materials that negate the need to mine materials.

Last year, Apple allocate more than $400m to 16 projects ranging from renewable energy to recycling as part of the first bond – including Liam the robotic recycling arm.

With 93% of Apple’s global facilities running on renewable energy, the company will soon begin to sell electricity generated from solar panels and farms, hydrogen fuel cells and biogas facilities located across the company’s biggest facilities including the Cupertino headquarters. Apple quietly formed its own energy subsidiary over the last year, meaning the company could sell excess electricity to end-users across the US.

Amazon’s approach

Rival tech firm Amazon is also making progress in its clean energy vision. In March, the online retailer pledged to deploy large-scale solar systems across 50 fulfillment and sortation centres globally by 2020.

The company’s chief executive Jeff Bezos showcased the progress being made to hit this target, through a tweet sent on Wednesday.

By the end of 2017, it is believed that Amazon will have 15 of its facilities equipped with solar arrays, all of which will be operational by 2020, the deadline for deployment goal.

Amazon turned to solar after deploying numerous wind farms, which have helped the company pass an incremental goal of sourcing 40% of its demand from renewable energy. A 50% target has since been set for 2017 and a 100% transition to renewable energy is being targeted, although no timeframe has been established.

Recent renewables projects from Amazon include the development of a 150MW wind farm in Benton County, Indiana, and a 208MW wind farm in North Carolina, which was the first utility-scale wind farm in the state.

Matt Mace

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