Report finds most tech giants lag far behind in decarbonization initiatives, identifies industry gaps
October 16, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO (Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands) — A new report released today by environmental advocacy group Stand.earth find that while Apple still has more work to legitimately claim its products are “carbon neutral,” other tech giants like Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft, and Nvidia lag far behind Apple in taking meaningful action to shift its manufacturing supply chain away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.
The report, titled Pathways to Decarbonization: Why IT Companies Can and Need to Do More to Reduce Supply Chain Emissions, was announced at the start of the Responsible Business annual conference in Santa Clara, Calif., where this year’s themes focus on supply chains and just transitions, among other climate-related topics. Representatives from all six IT brands will be panelists or attendees at the conference.
The IT sector – accountable for 4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and rapidly rising – is under increasing pressure to make its reputation for innovation and leadership show up in its decarbonization strategies. While Nvidia is the only brand of the six evaluated that does not have a 2030 or earlier 100% renewable energy target for its own operations, only Apple has extended its 100% renewable energy commitment to its supply chain. However, given that the majority of GHG emissions occur at the manufacturing and production stages, transitioning suppliers of global brands to renewable energy is critical, and working collaboratively with each other and with suppliers to scale up renewable energy procurement across value chains will be key to these efforts, particularly in semiconductor manufacturing processes.
“The business model of major brands in the sector has long been to outsource their manufacturing, but they don’t get to outsource their responsibility for the climate and air pollution caused by the fossil fuels powering the factories making their products,” said Stand.earth Global Climate Policy Director Gary Cook.
The report surfaced several critical gaps in the decarbonization efforts of the sector, including the following:
- Lack of ambitious supply chain decarbonization targets: All of the brands surveyed have set 100% renewable energy commitments for their own operations by 2025 or earlier. While many claim to be encouraging or working with its suppliers to use renewable energy, only Apple has thus far set concrete renewable energy targets for its suppliers.
- Reliance on unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs): While the purchase of unbundled RECs has been widely recognized as having little impact on the deployment of additional renewable energy, many brands continue to heavily rely on them for their own renewable energy claims. Suppliers will certainly look first at what actions their largest customers have taken to advance their own environmental claims in considering what strategies to include in their own decarbonization plans. Of the six brands evaluated, only Apple and Google have consistently prioritized high-impact renewable energy procurement strategies.
- Gap in collaboration between brands: There remains a substantial lack of meaningful collaboration and unified action among sector leaders to address climate change, leaving significant potential for industry-wide climate strategies unexplored, such as collaborating on climate strategies; creating working groups; building long-term partnerships; publicly and consistently sharing relevant emissions and energy-related information; and jointly advocating to national and/or regional decision-makers for impactful climate progress, such as changes to laws and policies aimed at advancing a renewable energy transition.
The report also profiles IT brands individually, with each fact sheet including a financial snapshot, climate and renewable energy targets, and supply chain analysis.
“While Apple may be too quick to claim their products are ‘carbon neutral,’ they are the only ones who are both setting a strong example in how they are moving their own operations off of fossil fuels, and working aggressively to get their suppliers on a path to be 100% renewably powered by 2030. Other brands need to send similarly clear signals to their suppliers that they want their products to be made with renewable energy, and are willing to work collaboratively to help them make this transition off fossil fuels by 2030,” said Stand.earth Global Climate Policy Director Gary Cook.
The release of the Pathways to Decarbonization report follows last year’s IT Scorecard, published jointly by Greenpeace East Asia and Stand.earth, which finds supply chains for global tech brands are still fueled primarily by coal, gas, and oil.
Shane Reese, Corporate Campaigns Media Director, email@example.com, +1 919 339 3785 (Eastern Time)