Thursday, February 14, 2013
Will More Fortune 500 Companies Follow Apple's Footsteps and Go Green?
Apple tracks its carbon footprint comprehensively with eco-friendly choices being made at every single turn. Their manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and facilities all take advantage of green technologies and ideas to reduce Apple’s impact on the planet around them. More Fortune 500 companies are beginning to realize that going green can mean more green in the bank. When eco-friendly meets the bottom line, huge change is sure to result.
New Campus Facility
Apple’s newest green step is rumored to be a campus being built in Austin Texas. Plans for the seven buildings have been published on the internet that shows details about the campus’ entire layout. The project is thought to cost upwards of $304 million with the first phase currently being constructed costing $56 million according to estimates. The project’s first phase consists of two buildings that take up 200,000 square feet. The final phases of the project will include seven different buildings will up the square footage to over one million. Additionally, three garages will be on campus and be able to hold approximately 5,500 vehicles.
All of Apple’s facilities together account for two percent of their total greenhouse gas emissions – an amount equal to 378,000 metric tons. This includes campus centers, corporate offices, retail stores, data centers and distribution hubs. These buildings, including the campus being built above, use state of the art digital controls, monitoring technology and high-efficiency mechanical equipment throughout to reduce emissions. Many of their facilities are also 100% run with renewable energy which has eliminated 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Even how the employees get to work is important with 10,000 participating in their Commute Alternatives program.
The manufacturing processes at Apple account for 61% of their carbon footprint which is an amount equal to a staggering 14,096,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. When the numbers are this large, every small change can really add up. Apple has worked hard to use all non-toxic products in their manufacturing as well as use environmentally conscious materials such as recycled plastics, vegetable based inks and recycled paper. Apple has been at the cutting edge of delivering smaller, thinner and lighter products. This results in less use of materials and less energy required to transport them. Even a small change to an iPad design can result in thousands of tons of emissions saved.
Financial Feasibility of Eco-Friendly
Huge companies such as Apple have shown the world that eco-friendly business can be part of a financially successful business – and in a big way. Companies are inspired by the bottom line such as does it increase sales? Does it reduce costs? What is the benefit to eco-friendly changes? Luckily, the payoff for green businesses is starting to show. Customers are starting to demand that businesses be run in an environmentally responsible manner and are investigating just how green businesses are before opening their wallets. The payoff for going green can be huge with reduced costs of manufacturing, transportation and facilities while having an increase in sales and profitability.
Companies like Apple are leading the way to a new green-er business world. Fortune 500 companies will certainly be paying attention to all of the benefits of green businesses and be making action plans of their very own.