It sounds like a big ask – to clean up the planet and still make returns for investors – but that’s what this new fund is aiming to do. Apple and partners Goldman Sachs and Conservation International, have announced a first-of-its-kind carbon removal initiative — called the Restore Fund.
This $200 million Restore Fund will aim to remove at least one million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere and to develop responsible packaging innovations, while at the same time generating financial returns for investors.
By removing one million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere this will be equivalent to the amount of fuel used by over 200,000 passenger vehicles. Because the fund will demonstrate a viable financial model it will help scale up investment in forest restoration.
As Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives says: “Nature provides some of the best tools to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Forests, wetlands and grasslands draw carbon from the atmosphere and store it away permanently in their soils, roots, and branches.”
“Through creating a fund that generates both a financial return as well as real, and measurable carbon impacts, we aim to drive broader change in the future — encouraging investment in carbon removal around the globe. Our hope is that others share our goals and contribute their resources to support and protect critical ecosystems,” she adds.
Part of Apple’s broader goal to become carbon neutral
This new fund is part of Apple’s broader goal to become carbon neutral across its entire chain by 2030. While the company will directly eliminate 75 percent of emissions for its supply chain and products by 2030, the fund will help address the remaining 25 per cent of Apple’s emissions by removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Trees absorb carbon as they grow, with researchers estimating tropical forests hold more carbon than humanity has emitted over the past 30 years from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, despite ongoing deforestation. The partnership aims to unlock the potential of this natural solution by scaling it in a way which makes it attractive to businesses.
To ensure that the carbon stored in forests is being accurately quantified, and permanently locked out of the atmosphere, the Restore Fund will use robust international standards developed by recognised organisations such as Verra, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UN Climate Convention. Additionally, it will prioritise investments in working forests which improve biodiversity through the creation of buffer zones.
Three-way partnership with different roles
Conservation International is a co-investor in the fund and is ensuring that all projects meet strict environmental and social standards. Goldman Sachs is managing the fund. The three parties will identify new projects later this year.
Goldman Sachs Global Head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth, Dina Powell, says: “Innovation is core to Apple’s approach to climate solutions, and Goldman Sachs is proud to partner with them and Conservation International. We all agree that the urgency of climate transition requires private capital to work alongside new and established efforts aimed at sustainably removing carbon from the atmosphere with rigour and high standards. We believe launching this fund can catalyse significant additional investment capital for climate impact.”
CEO of Conservation International, Dr M. Sanjayan, says: “Investing in nature can remove carbon far more effectively — and much sooner — than any other current technology. As the world faces the global threat climate change presents, we need innovative new approaches that can dramatically reduce emissions. We are excited to build on our long-standing partnership with Apple and believe the groundbreaking approach with the Restore Fund will make a huge difference and benefit communities around the world with new jobs and revenue that support everything from education to healthcare.”
Apple’s ongoing efforts in forestry conservation
The Restore Fund builds on Apple’s legacy of work in forestry conservation. For three years running, Apple has used 100 per cent responsibly sourced fibres in its packaging and improved the management of over one million acres of forests globally to date. Apple has also pioneered new carbon projects with Conservation International which protect and restore grasslands, wetlands and forests.
In 2018, Apple partnered with Conservation International, local government and conservation organisations in Colombia to protect and restore a 27,000-acre mangrove forest in the country. The aim was to sequester one million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the project’s lifetime. These mangroves not only protect the coasts and help support the livelihoods of residents in those communities where they grow, but they also store up to 10 times more carbon than forests on land. This project is the first to use ‘blue carbon’ methodology to rigorously value the entire mangrove system — both above and below the waterline — for its climate mitigation impacts.
Apple and Conservation International have also partnered with local conservation organisations in Kenya to restore degraded savannas in the Chyulu Hills region, an area between three national parks in Kenya and just across the border from Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. Scaling up this work across the degraded rangeland and natural savannas across Africa could remove hundreds of millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year, while also benefiting local communities and wildlife.
Apple customers can support these projects
Apple’s customers can take part in supporting these efforts because for each Apple Pay purchase from now through Earth Day, Apple will make a donation to Conservation International to support its efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
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