Apple wins inaugural Green Supply Chain CITI award for Chinese environmental efforts

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The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI), curated by non-governmental agency Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), on Thursday named Apple the first recipient of its Outstanding Brand award for superior supply chain management and environmental awareness.

Announced in a post to Apple's Chinese website, the award recognizes contributions to green supply chain efforts in China. For the past five years, Apple ranked first on the IPE's CITI list, which is detailed in an annual report covering environmental supply chain management.

"We always believe that to create the best products in the world, we must create the products that are most beneficial to the world," said Ge Yue, Managing Director of Apple Greater China. "For this reason, we have been committed to promoting the development of smart and sustainable manufacturing. I am very grateful to Director Ma Jun and IPE for their cooperation with us. We believe that through our joint efforts, we will be able to achieve greater achievements in protecting the Earth and its important resources." (Machine translation)

Apple is expected to assist with green efforts beyond its own supply chain, including plans to share best practices with other industry players.

Among the projects lauded by IPE are Apple's exemplary water management, energy efficiency improvements and clean energy initiatives. The company regularly audits its supply chain with an eye on a variety of metrics, from material sourcing to energy usage and industrial waste.

With major manufacturing partners Foxconn, Pegatron, Quanta and others operating a bulk of operations out of China, Apple's reach in the region is considerable. As such, the tech giant's supply chain strategies greatly impact local ecosystems and represent a touchstone for smaller companies.

Apple's clean water program, for example, now includes 76 suppliers and helped saved more than 25 billion gallons of water since 2013. The company is looking to expand to water management through collaborations with an international alliance, other manufacturers, local communities and governments agencies.

As part of a global effort to rely solely on renewable energy, more than 40% of Apple's manufacturing partners have committed to using clean energy to produce its products. One pillar of that initiative is the $300 million Clean Energy Fund, a four-year plan that seeks to generate more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy through multiple solar and wind farm projects. In September, it was announced that the fund's first project — a trio of wind farms — was completed, delivering 134 megawatts to China's national grid.

Apple in its release also mentions an energy efficiency program, adopted by 67 suppliers, that in 2018 reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by 466,000 tons.