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Apple Joins Tech Rivals With Pledge to be 100% Carbon Neutral by 2030

In a move that no doubt makes current consumers sigh with relief, technology giants Apple and Facebook announced today that they plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 and have committed to be on the lookout for environmentally responsible ways to create and manufacture their devices.

Although both tech companies seem to be on the right track — given their already significant clean energy footprints — they are still falling slightly short of what some ambitious climate activists have demanded.

With strong public support from companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft , along with politicians from both sides of the aisle, it’s perhaps only reasonable to expect the tech community to sign on to a movement that places a strong emphasis on environmental stewardship. Though the environmental community has been paying close attention to Apple and Facebook for some time now, today’s announcement suggests that these companies are finally taking their responsibility to reduce and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions seriously.

While the much anticipated announcement comes after a significant amount of work by Apple and Facebook over the past few years, Apple in particular has been extremely innovative in its efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, from the removal of its product packaging in favor of mobile order online deliveries to, as far as I can tell, the only instance of a company manufacturing a product at home. While Facebook has promised to recycle all of the plastic it collects from the walls of user’s houses, it has not yet promised to go 100% carbon neutral by 2030.

Even with the tech industry playing a key role in setting climate policy, these companies have not been making radical efforts to make their products completely carbon neutral.

According to a 2013 carbon neutrality survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project, just a handful of tech companies, including Apple, Cisco, Autodesk, and IBM, fully met the organization’s standards for carbon neutrality by 2017. The progress made by Facebook and Apple since then demonstrates both the importance of companies being transparent about their sustainability efforts and their dedication to reducing their carbon footprint as a whole.

It may still be a long way from near 100% carbon neutrality, but tech companies are beginning to understand that the environment is an important ingredient of their public relations strategy.

While the environmental community has been paying close attention to Apple and Facebook for some time now, today’s announcement suggests that these companies are finally taking their responsibility to reduce and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions seriously. Though the much anticipated announcement comes after a significant amount of work by Apple and Facebook over the past few years, Apple in particular has been extremely innovative in its efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, from the removal of its product packaging in favor of mobile order online deliveries to, as far as I can tell, the only instance of a company manufacturing a product at home. While Facebook has promised to recycle all of the plastic it collects from the walls of user’s houses, it has not yet promised to go 100% carbon neutral by 2030.

Even with the tech industry playing a key role in setting climate policy, these companies have not been making radical efforts to make their products completely carbon neutral.

Since 2009, nearly every tech company on the market has signed on to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a powerful lobbying group that represents the ten largest U.S. technology companies. While the CCP’s agreement is not necessarily being framed as an environmental platform in and of itself, the green lobby has made it a central part of its growth in recent years.

Apple and Facebook are committed to making their products carbon neutral by 2030 — an ambitious goal that may seem unrealistic, given the long history of carbon footprints among tech companies. However, as Apple has shown with the removal of its product packaging and several of its well-publicized initiatives over the past few years, this is exactly the sort of bold commitment that will help in establishing a position for tech companies as carbon neutral leaders in the sector.

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