On April 22, Apple announced a partnership with China Green Carbon Sink Foundation, to explore possibilities of improving the quantity and quality of carbon sinks for sustainable forest management in China.
Carbon sinks are any reservoir that can store more carbon than they emit. Forests, oceans, and soil are all-natural carbon sinks that need to be maintained and even enhanced. Reforestation is one of the most common techniques to improve a reservoir’s carbon-storing ability since the low density of trees can affect the amount of carbon forests absorb.
Apple has undertaken a number of forest conservation projects in China since 2015 and vows to continue its efforts in other environmental areas as well, which are part of the company’s goal of achieving carbon-neutral by 2030. As of March 2022, 213 Apple suppliers have committed to 100% renewable electricity for production, according to Apple’s recently released 2021 Environmental Progress Report.
There were 219,978,000 hectares of forest area in China in 2020, up 9.66% from that of 2010 (200,610,000 hectares), according to the 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment. Although China has an increasing amount of forest resources, most of them have not yet been certified as quantifiable, high-quality forest carbon sinks. Ecosystems in China's metropolitan areas also have the potential to capture and store atmospheric carbon, and there are no readily available methods to adequately measure and assess the climate eco-benefits at the scale of these metropolitan areas.
Apple's partnership with the China Green Carbon Sink Foundation will be used to support and promote carbon sink priority areas in Sichuan Province and to develop and explore best practice guidelines and methodologies for the sustainable management of forest carbon sinks that can be replicated in other regions of China. In addition, through this partnership, Apple will support a pilot project in Chengdu to demonstrate the potential of China's urban ecosystems to remove carbon and address climate change.
The partnership aligns with China’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060. “China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” China’s President Xi pledged.
Homegrown tech companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent have all launched projects to reduce carbon emissions. Alibaba has previously announced a Scope 3+ project, vowing to “facilitate 1.5 gigatons of decarbonization in its ecosystem by 2035.” Baidu plans to reduce its energy consumption in data centers, promoting AI Cloud and green supply chains, while Tencent has joined the Science-Based Carbon Targets initiative (SBTi) and plans to join RE100, a global renewable energy initiative led by The Climate Group and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) that requires participating companies to commit to a 100% green electricity schedule between 2020 and 2050 and make plans year by year.
Cover image by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash.