Tech giant Apple intends to use the world’s first low-carbon aluminium in iPhone SE, the company announced on Thursday.
With the help of $4.7 billion investments in green bonds, Apple could jump-start the development of new low-carbon manufacturing and recycling technologies, the company said in a statement.
Since 2016, Apple has issued three Green Bonds aimed to accelerate progress toward the company’s goal to become carbon neutral across its supply chain by 2030.
As part of this work, Apple announced it is purchasing direct carbon-free aluminium from Canada-based ELYSIS – the company behind the world’s first direct carbon-free aluminium smelting process.
The aluminium is the first to be manufactured at industrial scale outside of a laboratory without creating any direct carbon emissions during the smelting process. The breakthrough technology produces oxygen instead of greenhouse gases, and the achievement marks a major milestone in the production of aluminium, one of the world’s most widely used metals.
Apple said it intends for the material, produced by using hydropower, to be introduced in the iPhone SE.
“Apple is committed to leaving the planet better than we found it, and our Green Bonds are a key tool to drive our environmental efforts forward,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, in the statement.
“Our investments are advancing the breakthrough technologies needed to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials we use, even as we move to using only recyclable and renewable materials across our products to conserve the earth’s finite resources,” she added.
This revolutionary advancement in aluminium production was spurred by Apple through an investment partnership with Alcoa, Rio Tinto, and the governments of Canada and Quebec that began in 2018.
The following year, Apple purchased the first-ever commercial batch of aluminium resulting from the joint venture, using it in the production of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. ELYSIS is a joint venture between Alcoa and Rio Tinto.
Apple has also made significant progress in reducing the carbon impact of aluminium and other metals found in its products. By switching to recycled aluminium and aluminium smelted using hydroelectricity instead of fossil fuels, the company’s carbon emissions associated with aluminium have decreased by nearly 70 per cent since 2015.
Every model in the iPad lineup, including the new iPad Air, along with the latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Apple Watch, are made with a 100 per cent recycled aluminium enclosure, the company said.