VIDEO: Apple’s clean energy charging & the UN to protect the high seas

March 9, 2023

The Week in Sustainability – March 6–10, 2023

What’s up with the backlash around Apple’s clean energy charging? 

Apple continues to demonstrate its ability to scale operational change across its value chain, and this time, it’s all about showcasing net-zero planning in action. Apple’s latest iOS 16 update features a default “clean energy charging” setting for U.S. users, which aims to charge devices during times when the composition of the energy grid is cleaner. This feature results in slower charging and lower power draw during peak demand periods when dirtier sources are usually online. The update has faced backlash on social media from climate supporters criticizing the default setting and lack of user awareness and climate deniers who argue against ESG and “woke capitalism.”

Apple aims to have its supply chain use 100% renewable power for all production at its manufacturing facilities and offers free training on green energy for its supply chain. This new iOS feature is also part of Apple’s net-zero plan, which focuses on creating a carbon neutral global supply chain, including the lifecycle of its products. That includes reducing the carbon footprint of device charging (scope 3, category 11 – Use of sold products). 

The UN is set to protect the high seas

After more than two decades of discussions and negotiations, the United Nations has reached a historic agreement to protect biodiversity on the high seas. This new framework establishes protections in ocean regions known as the high seas—the area outside of 200 nautical miles from shore—and creates a new body within the UN to manage the conservation of ocean life and establish marine protection. The treaty also sets environmental impact assessment ground rules for commercial activities like tourism, fishing, and mining. It creates protected areas in the ocean to safeguard species endangered by climate change. This effort is critical to achieving the UN Biodiversity Conference’s recent pledge to protect one-third of the world’s biodiversity.

Why’s it matter?

The high seas play a critical role in human health and wellbeing, with approximately half of the oxygen we breathe coming from microscopic plants in ocean waters. Billions of people worldwide rely on the ocean for food, and the high seas are critical migratory grounds for key species. With climate change putting pressure on ocean ecosystems, the newly established protected areas can create a safe haven for endangered species and safeguard the health of the high seas.

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  1. Washington Post. “Why an iPhone charging feature is facing surprising blowback” Accessed March 9, 2023
  2. Grist. “UN reaches historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans” Accessed March 9, 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.
Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
Alyssa Rade
Alyssa Rade is the chief sustainability officer at Sustain.Life. She has over ten years of corporate sustainability experience and guides Sustain.Life’s platform features.
The takeaway

– Apple’s latest iOS 16 update features a default “clean energy charging” setting for U.S. users, which aims to charge devices during times when the composition of the energy grid is cleaner.
– The United Nations has reached a historic agreement to protect biodiversity on the high seas—it will help to safeguard species endangered by climate change.