In an era where customers want to know that their electronics manufacturers are operating in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, Apple is moving down the path to running a greener supply chain. In August, the company announced that one of its major suppliers, Lens Technology, is running its new Apple operations entirely on renewable energy.
And with that, touchscreen maker Lens Technology becomes the first Apple supplier to commit to 100% renewable energy for the electronics manufacturer’s operations. According to an Apple press release, all 14 of Lens Technology’s final assembly sites in China are now compliant with UL’s Zero Waste to Landfill validation. The UL standard certifies that all manufacturing waste from a plant is reused, recycled, composted, or, when necessary, converted into energy. Since the program began in January 2015, the sites have diverted more than 140,000 metric tons of waste from landfills.
“We applaud innovative companies, like Apple, that are leading by actively reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing operations,” said UL president and CEO Keith Williams. “Achieving zero waste is an extensive effort that requires close coordination across all facets of a company’s operations, especially when the commitment is global.”
This commitment on Lens Technology’s part—combined with zero waste compliance from all final assembly sites—is helping Apple to lower its carbon footprint and reduce waste in China, helping to advance the country’s transition to a greener overall economy. Lens Technology’s manufacturing with Apple currently includes two facilities in Changsha, Hunan province. Wind energy will cover 100 percent of the energy consumed producing Apple products at Lens facilities by 2018, avoiding nearly 450,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to the energy use in 380,000 Chinese homes.
According to the press release, Lens Technology has committed to power all of its glass production for Apple with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018, as part of Apple’s supply chain clean energy program, which was announced last year. Lens Technology is the first supplier to make a clean energy commitment for all of its Apple production, and will meet its goal through a power purchase agreement with local wind projects.
“Our power purchase agreement is the first of its kind in southern China and we hope it will serve as an example for other companies looking to transition to cleaner, more economical sources of power,” said Lens Technology’s CEO Zhou Qunfei. “We’re pleased to be the first supplier to commit to covering all of our Apple production with renewable energy, and proud to source from local Hunan wind farms to power our facilities in Changsha.”
Through its clean energy program, Apple is partnering with suppliers in China to install more than 2 gigawatts of new clean energy, thus avoiding over 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution in the country between now and 2020.