More carbon neutral gadgets are coming but check labels

More products promising to be carbon neutral are expected to hit stores after Apple kicked off the trend with its newest smart watches, experts predict.

But potential buyers have been warned to inspect the fine print of green claims to ensure their emissions reductions are genuine.

The forecast comes after Apple released its first certified carbon neutral products in some Apple Watch Ultra Watch 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 devices with bands made from recycled material.

Apple environment policy vice-president Lisa Jackson said the products were part of a larger emission-reduction push by the company, which aimed to make all of its products carbon neutral by 2030.

“We’ve achieved an important milestone in making the world’s most popular watch carbon neutral and we will keep innovating to meet the urgency of the moment,” she said.

“Our focus on renewable energy and low-carbon design has already driven industry-leading emissions reductions and we’re not slowing down.”

Ms Jackson said the company focused on reducing carbon emissions from electricity, materials and transport.

The new Apple Watches, for example, were produced using renewable electricity and 30 per cent recycled or renewable materials, and by using more “non-air modes” of transport, such as rail and ships.

Apple estimated moving products by ocean vessels created 95 per cent fewer emissions than by air transport.

Swinburne University future urban mobility professor Hussein Dia said he questioned Apple’s use of large ships, which could produce emissions that were hard to abate, but said tackling transport pollution was a smart way to address climate concerns.

“This is what we hope to see, that companies will be responsible not only for scope one emissions but also emissions in their supply chain because they can be significant,” he said.

“We will see more of this trend.”

Prof Dia said using trains to move goods could be beneficial in many countries including Australia, and cutting emissions directly, rather than buying offsets, would deliver the greatest benefits.

Consumers considering buying an carbon neutral product should carefully consider how a company achieved its claims.

“A lot of companies take a shortcut and buy carbon credits,” he said.

“The hard approach – the right way to go – is looking at ways to reduce emissions.”

Other technology companies that have made efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products include Logitech, which announced its gaming products were carbon neutral and used recycled plastic.

Microsoft produced 825,000 Xbox One X carbon neutral game consoles as part of a pilot.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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