Apple CEO Tim Cook attended the annual China Development Forum during his visit to the country, taking part in a climate change meeting during it.

Cook has said that meeting environmental goals requires “more innovation,” and that AI is an essential tool for this …

Tim Cook has been in China since last week, attending a store opening, meeting with Apple suppliers, and talking with developers. He also praised China as a production hub, stating that “there’s no supply chain in the world that’s more critical to us than China.”

Digitimes reports on his latest remarks.

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said artificial intelligence is an essential tool for helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint, as he joined a climate change dialog Sunday at the China Development Forum […]

“We are making great progress, we are not there yet, and the road ahead requires more innovation,” Cook said of the company’s environmental goals […]

AI “provides an enormous toolkit for every company that’s wishing to be carbon-neutral or to lower their emissions by a substantial amount,” the 63-year-old CEO said. It can help businesses calculate a person’s carbon footprint, identify materials available for recovery, and offer strategies for recycling.

Apple achieved 100% carbon neutrality for its own operations way back in 2018, but its big challenge now is doing the same for its extensive supply-chain – especially in China, whose government has seemingly prioritized economic growth over environmental concerns.

Although the country has set environmental goals, these allow China to continue to increase carbon emissions until 2030, and its net zero goal is way off in 2060. China is the largest consumer of coal-fired power in the world, and continues to approve the equivalent of two more coal-powered plants every week.

Apple committed in 2020 to achieving 100% carbon neutrality for its entire supply chain by 2030. That doesn’t seem to have been going too well so far, with the company’s primary iPhone assembler, Foxconn, being given a D+ rating by Greenpeace in 2023.

Apple also came under fire for claiming that its latest Apple Watches were 100% carbon neutral, when that claim relies on carbon-offsetting, some of which is temporary in nature.

Apple says the credits will make up for emissions linked to the Watch’s manufacturing, shipping and charging over its lifetime, thanks to carbon absorbed by timber plantations and reforestation projects […]

“Trees are turned into pulp and cardboard or toilet paper,” said Niklas Kaskeala, who advises companies on carbon credits. “The carbon stored in these products is released back into the atmosphere very quickly”.

Photo: Apple, showing a solar farm in China

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