Apple invests in more clean power for Chinese manufacturing

It's no secret that Apple takes its energy responsibilities seriously. It already powers a large percentage of its buildings via renewable sources, but ensuring that its manufacturing facilities run on clean energy isn't as easy, especially when it has partners located in various different regions. China is now Apple's fastest growing market, but it's also where the majority of its products are assembled, so it's embarking on two new programs to improve its environmental impact in the country.

First is a big commitment to solar energy, which will see it build new solar grids in northern, eastern and southern China capable of generating over 200 megawatts of power. They'll add to the 40 megawatts of solar energy it already produces in the Sichuan Province. Apple says it will provide energy for more than 265,000 homes each year and will also help it offset the energy used by its supply partners.

The second is a new program designed to make those suppliers more efficient. Apple will partner with Chinese manufacturers to generate more than 2 gigawatts of solar, wind and hydropower for manufacturing processes over the next five years. Foxconn is on board and will generate 400 megawatts of solar by 2018, completely offsetting the energy it takes to manufacture the iPhone at its Zhengzhou factory.

In May, Apple committed to responsibly sourcing paper, wood and other fibers as part of a multi-year project with the World Wildlife Fund to achieve a "net-zero impact on the world's supply of sustainable virgin fiber." It's a start, but China has a long way to go before it can shed its title of being the world's most polluting country.