Apple Watch Series 9, Watch Ultra 2 are ‘carbon neutral’: How to do it

Apple on Tuesday said that three of their Apple Watch models will come in what they call CO2-neutral versions with a new green logo on their boxes, and the biggest change is that more of the transport will be by boat instead of plane.

Apple aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, including the supply chain. One of the biggest challenges to achieving that is reducing emissions from Apple’s rapid transit network, which relies heavily on airplanes.

Apple was a pioneer in using airplanes to transport consumer electronics from factories in China to destinations around the world, helping to reduce the inventory it needs to hold and boost its profits.

For the three new watches, half of the shipments by weight, from the factory to destinations such as regional distribution hubs, will be via boats, trains or other non-air methods that burn less fuel and create fewer planet-warming carbon emissions, Apple says executives said in an interview at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The three green marked versions of Apple Watch Series 9The Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will have lower emissions than Apple’s baseline estimates based on previous products, and Apple will purchase carbon offsets for remaining emissions, said Lisa Jackson, the company’s head of environmental and governance efforts.

“We could in theory do it (buy offsets) tomorrow and everything would be carbon neutral, but we wanted to be absolutely clear that we are taking action on everything we know how to do to reduce ( emissions) with existing technology.” Jackson said.

The company has previously said that a Series 8 watch created 33 kg of carbon emissions, from raw materials to delivery to end customers.

The new more climate-friendly aluminum Series 9 with a sports loop band will have 8.1 kg of emissions left after Apple’s changes, and the company will cover the rest by buying carbon credits. That compares to 29 kg emission for the standard stainless steel version of the Series 9 with the same band.

Apple has been focused on reducing CO2 emissions for some time. All new watches, including standard editions, also use custom aluminum and titanium alloys made from recycled materials and batteries that contain only recycled cobalt, a mineral whose mining poses both climate and human rights concerns.

“We definitely plan to roll it out across” more of Apple’s products in the future, John Ternus, the company’s head of hardware engineering, told Reuters. “As we push forward and we engage with suppliers about these supply chains for recycled materials, we find that we’re usually the first to talk to them about it.”

The green-marked watches will cost the same as the standard versions. Executives did not comment directly on whether they would be less profitable than standard, but Jackson said Apple is focused on making changes that it and other companies can carry into the future.

“To make this replicable, it couldn’t be a premium, because most companies are willing to make the change, but they still have to be able to be in business, make money and pay their workers and buy materials,” Jackson said.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Apple unveiled its first mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual developer conference alongside new Mac models and upcoming software updates. We discuss all the key announcements from the company at WWDC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available at Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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