Foxconn decarbonization rating a weak D+, says Greenpeace

A new report has criticized Foxconn’s decarbonization credentials, rating the iPhone assembler at D-plus – the second lowest rating of any final assembly company. The rating is likely to focus attention on the feasibility of Apple’s environmental commitment to make its entire supply chain carbon-neutral by 2030.

Greenpeace issued its report just ahead of the upcoming United Nations COP 28 climate summit, which will review progress made toward the world’s collective climate goals …

The Paris Agreement and COP 28 summit

Some 196 countries took part in negotiating The Paris Agreement in 2015 – a global commitment to action on climate change mitigation, with 195 of them signing the accord. The US withdrew from the agreement under the previous administration and rejoined under the current one.

The goal of the agreement is to limit the rise in mean global temperature to 1.5C as a target, and 2C as an absolute maximum.

Part of the agreement involves a two-year stocktake of progress toward this goal, with the final element of this taking place during the COP 28 summit. The event runs from November 30 to December 12.

Foxconn decarbonization rated D-plus

CNET reports on a new Greenpeace assessment of the decarbonization progress made by major players in the consumer electronics supply-chain, that says that Foxconn is not exactly leading the way.

Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest suppliers, has received a D-plus grade for its decarbonization efforts in 2022. That’s the second lowest rating of all ranked final assembly companies, according to a Greenpeace report published Tuesday. 

The Taiwanese company ranked behind another Apple supplier, Luxshare Precision, which received the highest grade among ranked final assembly companies with a C-plus. It also lagged behind Taiwan’s Pegatron, but beat China’s Goertek, which received a failing grade of F.

Likely to focus attention on Apple’s commitments

Apple made its own operations completely carbon neutral back in 2018.

Apple has finally hit its goal of running its own operations off 100% renewable energy. All Apple facilities, from Apple Park to its data centers to worldwide fleet of Apple retail stores, are now solely powered by green energy. 

Two years later, Apple committed to extending this to its entire supply chain by 2030.

Apple today unveiled its plan to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030. The company is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact.

This would, of course, include the world’s biggest iPhone assembler, Foxconn.

There is already significant controversy surrounding parts of Apple’s claims, most recently when it said its latest Apple Watches were 100% carbon-neutral.

The European Union has proposed that it will in the future be illegal to claim that a product is carbon neutral when that claim relies on offsetting credits to balance out the actual greenhouse gas emissions involved in production.

The issue is particularly acute when purchased offsets are claimed for reforesting, with trees which will later be cut down.

“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”.

This latest report is likely to put Apple’s claims under even more intense scrutiny at a time when the company claims it is closer than ever to achieving its aims.

Photo: American Public Power Association/Unsplash

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