Yes, I'm aware of Apple's corporate sins: Foxconn labor issues, keeping billions out of the U.S. to avoid paying taxes, etc.
But they also deserve props when they do the right thing, and today's a day for some serious props:
Apple's Data Centers Now Running on 100% Renewable Energy, Corporate Facilities at 75%Ironically, the company's overall carbon emissions--including the manufacture, transportation and actual usage of the products and packaging--have actually gone up 34%, but that's mostly due to their sales continuing to grow (obviously, if you produce 100 widgets this year and 200 next year, your total emissions are still going to go up even if you cut emissions by 20% per widget).
Bloomberg notes that Apple has posted the 2012 update of its environmental policy pages, noting that the company has now achieved 100% renewable energy usage at all of its data centers. On a worldwide basis, the company's corporate facilities are now running on 75% renewable energy, up from 35% just two years ago.Our goal is to power every facility at Apple entirely with energy from renewable sources — solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. So we’re investing in our own onsite energy production, establishing relationships with suppliers to procure renewable energy off the grid, and reducing our energy needs even as our employee base grows.
Our investments are paying off. We’ve already achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino. And for all of Apple’s corporate facilities worldwide, we’re at 75 percent, and we expect that number to grow as the amount of renewable energy available to us increases. We won’t stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple.
According to the report, since 2008, Apple has actually decreased the amount of greenhouse gasses it emits per dollar of revenue by 21.5 percent, so there's that (yeah, I know, I'm not entirely sure that's a fair measurement to go by either, but it's something).
Anyway, I'm not expecting this to turn everyone into an Apple fanboy, but we bitch about huge corporations when they're Evil, so it behooves us to give a pat on the back when they Do the Right Thing as well. With $140 billion sitting in the bank, it's not like Apple has to give a shit what anyone says, so good on them for following through with this commitment.
In addition, this news has a larger significance in terms of the Corporate Mindset, in the same way that CostCo's recent announcement of record-breaking profits was. Just like it's conventional wisdom within the corporate/Wall Street crowd that you have to fuck over your employees in order to keep high profits, it's also conventional wisdom that you can't have environmentally sound business practices and still keep your profits high.
CostCo proves the former mindset wrong, and Apple proves the latter one wrong.
For that matter, Apple's obsession with minimalism/miniturization wasn't just a personal quirky obsession of Steve Jobs; it's also helped them become a more environmentally-friendly company and helped their bottom line at the same time, in ways you wouldn't normally think about. For example, Jobs loved all-in-ones, so he mushed together the monitor, computer, speakers etc. into one for the iMac, reducing the amount of materials, cabling, packaging and transporation space/weight per PC accordingly.
He also hated the old, clunky, heavy CRTs, so as soon as LCDs became affordable enough, Apple became the first computer maker to ditch the CRT, thus further cutting down on transporation fuel costs, packaging materials, etc.
Once the Mac App Store opened up, Apple stopped carrying most of their software as physical, boxed CD/DVDs in their retail stores, further reducing packaging materials, fuel costs, etc. Over the past year or so they've started ditching the CD/DVD itself, moving everything into Cloud-based/downloadable storage and delivery...using the very data centers that now use 100% renewable energy.
Point being, of course, that they've done all of this, vastly improving their environmental standing, while also making gobs of massive profits, to the point that they literally don't know what to do with all that money (of course, as I noted at the start of this diary, if they really want to become Corporate Saints, they could bring $40 billion or so of that overseas cash back home and pay some taxes with it, which would single-handedly fill in a huge chunk of the Sequester, but that's a separate diary...)