In brief: Apple suppliers are making use of cleaner energy sources and Apple continues to promote efficient business practices. However, it is hypocritical of one of the world's largest producers of electronic waste to continue to sell products that are short-lived and not truly repaired by the company if environmental impact is of the utmost concern as is often portrayed in public messages.
Apple has shared that its suppliers are now running on more clean energy than ever before. There are now 44 of Apple's suppliers using completely clean energy. As a result, Apple is going to pass its goal of adding 4 gigawatts of renewable energy throughout its supply chain before 2020.
Facilities owned and operated by Apple have been run by renewable energy, or at least offset by renewables, as of last year. However, Apple's own real estate is only around a quarter of its overall impact. Manufacturing via third-parties accounts for 74 percent of Apple's carbon emissions.
In a unique financing program, ten of Apple's suppliers in China were given funding to support renewable energy projects. More than 100 suppliers have also registered to be members of a Clean Energy Portal that offers education and additional support resources.
In addition to supporting supplier efforts to use cleaner energy sources, Apple has also finished allocating $2.5 billion in bonds for projects. "Green Bonds" issued by Apple have been used to build solar roofs in Japan and as part of water conservation efforts in Oregon. One bond issued has gone to support the creation of an aluminum alloy made of completely recycled materials that is being used in the latest MacBook Air and Mac mini.
Apple is doing its best to show its interest in running on clean energy, but there is still a lot more to think about besides how energy is used. Electronic waste is an issue that Apple has not yet addressed effectively and continues to pump out hundreds of millions of new devices every single year. All of those products with relatively short lifespans will never be repaired by Apple. At best, they will be recycled when the next year's model comes out.
Maybe Apple will acknowledge that there are people in existence with the ability to do proper electronics repair so that they can reduce the massive amount of electronic waste they are creating each and every day. However, given that Apple's own community forum moderators will remove your posts and ban you for bringing up actual repair services via third parties, it looks like Apple has no problem creating tons of waste so long as you keep buying more iPhones and MacBooks.