In a landmark move towards sustainable and eco-friendly practices, tech giant Apple has committed to using recycled cobalt in their batteries by 2025 in a bid to achieve carbon neutrality. Cobalt is an essential component of lithium-ion batteries which power our electric cars, laptops, and smartphones. The mining of cobalt, however, has been a major environmental concern due to the use of child labor and hazardous mining practices.
Cobalt mining and its impact on the environment and human rights
According to a report by Amnesty International, around 20% of cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A major cobalt-producing country is mined by hand, often by children. Apple’s announcement to move towards completely using recycled cobalt is a significant step, not only toward reducing the environmental impact of mining cobalt but also towards addressing the human rights issues associated with the industry.
The announcement comes as part of Apple’s larger push towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
Under this plan, the company aims to reduce its carbon footprint. And removes carbon emissions from its entire supply chain and product lifecycle. This move towards using recycled cobalt in batteries will be a key part of achieving that goal. As the production of batteries is one of the most carbon-intensive parts of producing electronic devices.
Benefits of using recycled cobalt
The use of recycled cobalt not only reduces the environmental impact of mining but decreases the demand for new cobalt to be mined. The recycling process is a more sustainable approach to cobalt sourcing. As it utilizes materials that would otherwise be discarded. Apple has already made significant progress toward using recycled materials in its products. In 2017, the company announced its goal of using only recycled materials in its products.
Since then, Apple has launched a program called Apple Renew, which encourages customers to recycle their old devices. Apple has developed a robot called Daisy, which disassembles iPhones to recover valuable materials. The move towards using recycled cobalt aligns with Apple’s existing initiatives towards environmentally conscious practices. The company has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint, using renewable energy and implementing energy-efficient designs in its products and facilities.
Environmentalists and human rights activists have welcomed the announcement. Amnesty International’s Mark Dummett said, “For cobalt to be truly conflict-free. To prevent human rights abuses, companies like Apple prepared to overhaul their supply chains.” Other companies such as Tesla and BMW have been taking steps towards sustainable and eco-friendly practices in their supply chains. Tesla has pledged to reduce its cobalt content in batteries. BMW has created a cobalt supply chain that guarantees the metal comes from safe and fair sources.
Apple’s commitment to using solely recycled cobalt by 2025 is a crucial step towards a sustainable future. By reducing the environmental impact of mining and addressing the human rights concerns associated with the industry. Apple is setting an example for the technology industry to follow. As consumers become increasingly conscious of the impact, their purchases have on the environment, companies are beginning to shift towards more sustainable practices.