Apple announces investment to restore the Atlantic Forest

Tech giant Apple announced a USD 80 million investment in reforestation projects targeting Brazil’s Atlantic Forest biome, drawing attention to the company’s environmental sustainability agenda. Teaming up with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Japanese component supplier Murata, Apple has promised to restore degraded lands and combat climate change in one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems.

The Atlantic Forest has lost an estimated 80 percent of its original cover due to deforestation and agricultural expansion. There are an estimated 5,000 tree species in the biome, two-thirds of which are threatened with extinction. As such, work to protect and restore the Atlantic Forest is not only crucial for carbon sequestration but also for preserving unique plant and animal species found nowhere else on the planet.

Apple’s initial focus will be on Trancoso, in the northeastern state of Bahia. Between now and the end of the year, the company plans to plant more than 1 million new trees on 1,000 hectares of Atlantic Forest land.

Back in 2020, Apple promised to make all of its products completely “carbon neutral” by 2030, but experts are not convinced about the efficacy of neutrality or “net-zero” promises. In January, ecologist Maureen Santos told The Brazilian Report that the idea of offsetting emissions via reforesting activities is a questionable concept. “The carbon you emit from burning fossil fuels is different from the carbon removed in forest-based offsetting schemes,” she explained.

Net zero, she added, poses a threat to environmental protection as it does not offer any actual reduction in emissions.

The project in the Atlantic Forest is part of Apple’s Restore Fund, announced in 2021 with the goal of scaling nature-based solutions to address climate change. In partnership with Goldman Sachs and Conservation International, the Restore Fund has invested in three carbon removal projects across Brazil and Paraguay “with the aim of delivering benefits that go far beyond carbon — from strengthening local livelihoods to enhancing biodiversity,” says the company.

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