Report questions 'carbon neutral' claims of Apple Watch

A new report casts doubt on Apple’s environmental credentials after the company debuted its first supposedly carbon-neutral products last month.

The announcement of Apple Watch series 9 in early September was accompanied by the claim that some of the latest Apple Watch models are carbon neutral – in other words, that the production of the device used less carbon than the company was able to capture or offset.

But a new report by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), a Beijing-based environmental research organization, disputes this claim, citing a lack of transparency in the tech giant’s supply chain emissions.

The IPE, which has previously given Apple high marks for its environmental performance, said in its report that verifying the company’s claims to carbon-neutrality were difficult since Apple this year stopped requiring that its suppliers publicly disclose data on their greenhouse gas emissions.

“We believe there is a need for full disclosure and explanation of how Apple achieves carbon neutrality of its products, given the increase in carbon emissions from some of its suppliers,” the IPE report said.

In an environmental report to accompany the products Apple claimed that “100 percent of manufacturing electricity is sourced from clean energy” for its Apple Watch Ultra 2, Alpine Loop, and Trail Loop.

But as the IPE report noted: “Given that Apple’s suppliers do not publicly disclose their clean energy use and greenhouse gas emissions data, how can it be publicly verified that the manufacturing process for the three carbon neutral Apple Watch products uses 100 percent clean electricity?”

Related: Hey Tim, we need to talk about over-consumption