Sustain.Life has been acquired by Workiva, the world’s leading cloud platform for assured, integrated reporting.
Learn more

VIDEO: Apple’s first carbon neutral products & California’s climate disclosure bills

September 14, 2023

The Week in Sustainability – September 11–15

Apple headquarters in California

Apple continues to trailblaze on the sustainability front. On the legislative front, California’s new bills might set a precedent for broader global actions, which make one thing clear: meticulous carbon accounting is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity.

Paving the way: California’s climate bills

California is once again at the forefront of climate legislation. The state has passed two promising bills: SB 253, aka the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, and SB 261, the Climate-related Risk Disclosure Act. Both bills remain unsigned, but their momentum is undeniable. What sets them apart?

  • SB 253 will require companies boasting revenues over $1B (regardless of being public or private) to verify and disclose their emissions across all scopes.
  • SB 261 demands businesses with a revenue threshold above $500M to report climate-associated risks in harmony with the TCFD.

Interestingly, these bills not only align with proposed SEC rules, but notably encompass private entities, hinting at broader, rippling effects through supply chains.

Apple’s ongoing green evolution

Lovable tech titan, Apple, publicly endorsed the California bills, likely due to its preparedness signaled by their latest product launches, which focused heavily on sustainability.

Key highlights from the September 12 Apple event:

  • Freight emissions cut: Apple is largely transitioning from air to ocean freight, which has a 95% smaller carbon footprint.
  • Carbon neutral product debut: The launch of new Apple Watch models have been designed to be carbon neutral—a big step for the company in its quest to become net-zero by 2030 (more on that in a sec).
  • A farewell to leather: Vegan enthusiasts rejoice! Apple is transitioning away from leather, which might redefine leather’s luxury status.
  • Recycled minerals: Apple has taken a significant step by using 100% recycled cobalt in their batteries, addressing both environmental and ethical concerns in the supply chain.

While Apple’s initiatives are commendable, it’s essential to gauge their progress against their broader carbon reduction goals. The company aims for net-zero by 2030 and has already slashed emissions by 45% since 2015. Individual announcements might dazzle, but the journey to their ultimate goal remains paramount.

And there’s still the curious case of a move to titanium. Apple’s choice to introduce a titanium frame in their new iPhone Pro models has raised eyebrows. With a carbon footprint significantly larger than aluminum, it begs the question: Do we really need such high-end materials in everyday tech?

Future-proof your business—take climate action

Request a demo
Sustain.Life Leaf Logo


1. Reuters, “California Senate passes climate bill, governor must decide by Oct 14,” Accessed September 14, 2023

2. ESG Today, “Apple Backs California’s Proposed Emissions Reporting Rules,” Accessed September 14, 2023

Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Nick Liu-Sontag
Nick Liu-Sontag is a senior manager of sustainability at Sustain.Life. He has over a decade of experience in the sustainability and energy sectors.
Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
The takeaway
Listen on Apple Podcasts