MAC: Mines and Communities

USA: The Apple of our eyes?

Published by MAC on 2017-04-20
Source: Macworld, Mining Journal, Macrumors (2017-04-21)

World's largest information technology company has commited itself to "stop mining the Earth"

After the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador unanimously approved a Prohibition of Metallic Mining Law, which seeks to eliminate this industry from the soil and subsoil of the country, the world's largest information technology company and second-largest mobile phone manufacturer (after Samsung) has commited itself to "stop mining the Earth altogether".

This plan is laid out in its 2017 environmental report, where the company said it wants to stop supporting mining and get all it needs to make iPhones and their kin from recycling.

While the announcement seems effective at dealing with competition from Fairphone (and others), it also allows Apple to differentiate from rivals like Samsung. But some have read the news as just an opportunity to buy back old devices for peanuts and regurgitate them back to the market.

Lisa P. Jackson, the company’s vice president of environmental and social initiatives, and former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, said that "Apple is trying to move the industry in the direction of sustainability. That means the end of mining metals from the earth".

According to Jackson, "Apple doesn’t have a timeline for moving to a completely closed-loop supply chain".

The company had denied the use of so called "conflict minerals" as raw materials in a BBC Panorama programme 'Apples Broken Promises', by Mazanga Von Kopimi.

See also:

2017-01-12 Greenpeace tells Samsung: Recover Metals in Recalled Phones!

2016-01-23 Children as young as seven mining cobalt used in smartphones

2013-04-28 Metals recycling needs bigger role in product design

2008-07-09 Electronics companies address issues in the mining industry

Apple sets a new environmental goal: No more mining

Apple wants to end its reliance on raw materials to make its products. That means your new devices will be produced from old devices.

Caitlin McGarry

http://www.macworld.com/article/3191361/consumer-electronics/apple-sets-a-new-environmental-goal-no-more-mining.html

April 20, 2017

Apple never used to announce what its roadmap looked like. Instead, the company held its cards close and let the rumor mill run amok. But lately, Apple is being much more open about its future. Expect new iMacs later this year, company executives said earlier this month, but that’s not all: Apple plans to make all of its products with recycled materials.

That means the end of mining metals from the earth, which is a tall order. Apple doesn’t have a timeline for moving to a completely closed-loop supply chain, said Lisa P. Jackson, the company’s vice president of environmental and social initiatives. Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, told Vice News Tonight that Apple is trying to move the industry in the direction of sustainability.

“We’re actually doing something we rarely do which is announce a goal before we completely figure out how to do it,” Jackson said. “We’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important because as a sector it’s where we believe technology should be going.” You can see Jackson’s full Vice News interview.

Liam, Apple’s iPhone-disassembling robot, will play a big part in recycling and reusing Apple’s own components to produce new devices. But there’s much more to it than that, which Apple is still trying to figure out.

The company managed to move almost entirely to renewable energy to power its facilities within four years of announcing that goal, so it can be done. In 2016, 96 percent of the electricity Apple uses worldwide came from renewable energy. In 24 countries, it’s 100 percent renewable. The company is encouraging its suppliers to do the same, and seven have promised to power their Apple manufacturing with renewable energy by the end of 2018. Apple is also using 99 percent recycled and sustainabily sourced paper for its packaging.

Apple released its annual comprehensive environmental sustainability report, which covers its progress in fiscal 2016, and you can check it out in full here.

The news of Apple’s new goal comes just in time for Earth Day, which falls on April 22. To get you in the mood, the company is encouraging Apple Watch owners to finish a 30-minute outdoor exercise activity on Saturday, for which you’ll be awarded an Earth Day badge and iMessage stickers. You’re not gonna help the earth with that workout, really, but you’re probably already recycling your iPhones and being responsible in other ways. The Earth Day challenge is just for fun.


“Can we one day stop mining the Earth altogether?”

Apple has set itself an ambitious goal to get away from the business of digging up all the metals and minerals needed to make its dominant electronics products.

http://www.mining-journal.com/financeinvestment/production/can-we-one-day-stop-mining-the-earth-altogether/

20 Apr 2017

This plan is laid out in its 2017 environmental report, where the company said it wants to stop supporting mining and get all it needs to make iPhones and their kin from recycling.

“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.

“We’re also challenging ourselves to one day end our reliance on mining altogether.”

Like other tech companies, Apple has been criticised by shifting the blame on the use of conflict minerals like cobalt to suppliers.

An Amnesty International report from 2016 found Apple and its competitors could not say whether supply chain policies on child labour and conflict minerals were being followed.

Away from ethical considerations, the difficulty of Apple’s task varies depending on the metal or mineral.

The company has identified aluminium, tin and cobalt as the first metals to tackle, based on their "risk profiles".

Tin, used as solder in phones, can be recycled easily but aluminium is tougher because of quality issues.

Apple said it needs a higher grade than can be provided by standard recycling plants, and therefore can only get it from turning over its own products.

“Our challenge is to recover the aluminium from our products without degrading its quality,” the company said.

Apple has not set a timeline on the no-mining goal.


Apple Pledges to End Mining and Use 100% Recycled Materials for Products

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/04/19/apple-recycled-materials-end-mining/

April 19, 2017

Just ahead of Earth Day, Apple has released its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report [PDF] with a lofty new goal: ending mining. Apple says the company is working on a "closed-loop supply chain" that would allow it to stop mining the earth for rare minerals and metals.

"One day, we'd like to be able to build new products with just recycled materials, including your old products," Apple says on its updated Environment site. In an interview with VICE, Apple vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson commented on the mining plan, saying "it's where technology should be going."

"We're actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we've completely figured out how to do it," Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple's environmental testing lab on Monday. "So we're a little nervous, but we also think it's really important, because as a sector we believe it's where technology should be going.

Much of what goes into an iPhone isn't recycled, but Apple wants to change that by more aggressively using components taken from old iPhones and combining that with "high quality recycled metals" purchased from suppliers. Apple will double down on investments like Liam, the robot that breaks iPhones down into component parts, and it plans to continue to encourage customers to return products through the Apple Renew recycling program.

While Apple plans to source more of its materials from recycled goods, Jackson says that though a "product that lasts is really important," the company doesn't have plans to make its devices easier to repair to increase longevity.

Jackson also defended Apple's history of making products that are hard to repair. Allowing customers to repair Apple products themselves "sounds like an easy thing to say," she said. But "technology is really complex; it is sophisticated to make it work, to ensure that you have security and privacy, [and] that somebody isn't giving you bad parts."

Because of this, Apple won't be taking a "right to repair" approach to meeting its environmental goals. "All those things mean that you want to have certified repairs," Jackson said.

Other environmental milestones are also outlined in Apple's report. 96 percent of the power used by Apple facilities around the world comes from clean energy sources, and as has been the case for several years, 100 percent of the electricity that powers Apple data centers comes from solar, hydro, and wind energy sources.

Apple now has seven suppliers that have committed to using renewable energy, and the company plans to help suppliers bring 4 gigawatts of renewable power online by 2020.

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