Apple Issues a New $1B Green Bond

128

Apple has issued a $1 billion green bond to help fund renewable energy initiatives, such as recycling and energy efficiency, through its supply chain, according to Bloomberg.

It is the company’s second green bond – it issued a $1.5 billion green bond in February 2016 last year to help it reduce its carbon footprint in its buildings, manufacturing and operations.

Timing

Apple’s new green bond issuance comes two weeks after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, so the announcement’s timing is commendably prescient, as well as a loud signal to the U.S. administration that reducing emissions remains a top priority for U.S. firms.

The company was among those who pledged to continue supporting efforts to meet the Paris agreement. Earlier in June, CEO Tim Cook shared an internal memo describing the Paris withdrawal as the wrong decision, saying “climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it … we power nearly all of our operations with renewable energy, which we believe is an example of something that’s good for our planet and makes good business sense as well.”

Outside of green bonds, Apple has a track record of timing the issuance of its bonds – watching interest rates closely and knowing when to strike and get what amounts to “almost free money,” according to Marilyn Cohen of Envision Capital.

Token Gesture?

Comments in some user forums seem to describe Apple’s latest action as insufficient, noting that it continues to keep billions in revenues offshore to avoid taxes, or plans obsolescence in its products, or uses manufacturers that have not been practiced in sustainability.

Yet Apple has invested in green wind turbines in China, has been pushing its partners like Foxconn to commit to renewable energy sources and has even installed solar panels in buildings in its new campus in California.

Intended consequence or otherwise, some also see Apple’s actions as examples of where lack of government involvement in issues like climate change can urge individual or corporate responsibility and innovation.

“What Apple is doing here is what should be happening in the first place. No need for crazy agreements and accords that cost money to taxpayers,” says one commenter.