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  • Subject Name : leadership

Sustainable development goals of Bcorps: Apple



Literature review 


Present scenario: 

Affordable and clean energy 

Enhancing management system 

Setting sustainable goals and policies 





Sustainable development is the development that focuses on fulfilling the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their needs (Williams, 2014). Sustainable development goals focus on some of the major objectives like protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy prosperity and peace. Some of the major challenges that affect sustainability are climate change, economic inequality, and injustice and so on. Carbon footprints are one of the major issues for the environment. Carbon footprints are the total carbon emissions by various entities, persons, and products. Carbon footprints are a major challenge for a large number of business corporations. However, industrial revolutions are one of the major causes of carbon footprints. In the present scenario, there is no sufficient amount of trees to absorb the carbon dioxide released by the number of business corporations. This is one of the major environmental challenges. The shreds of evidence stated that CO2 emissions result in raising the sea level, increasing temperature, floods, and extreme weather. The sustainability agenda of the United Nations also focuses on decarbonizing the global economy. 

International companies can make a noteworthy contribution to reducing carbon emissions. Moreover, the metal industry and mining industry are shifting their goals towards achieving a low carbon economy. The renowned American multination company, Apple is famous for its innovation in the field of technology. The company always focuses on manufacturing superior products for its customers. Further, the company is equally responsible for protecting the environment from carbon footprints. The company believes in conserving the resources by achieving sustainability goals. They are providing those products which are safe for assembling and recycling. The company developed an effective environmental strategy to reduce their impacts on the environment. The 2018 report of the company is indicating that they have achieved some of their major sustainable goals. The company has witnessed a 35 percent reduction in carbon footprints and they are using recyclable and renewable material to manufacture the products. MacBook Air and Mac mini are 100 percent recyclable products. The company eliminated the use of harmful chemicals including arsenic in-display glasses, mercury, beryllium, and phthalates. The electricity for the Apple stores, data centers, and offices comes from 100 percent renewable resources. The company is doing some of the major transitions to develop products from low carbon materials. However, the major issue is that some of the major procedures are outsourced to third party suppliers and these companies are large (Kashmanian, 2015). Therefore, it requires some major efforts. 

According to me, the company is spending a huge amount of money in the research of carbon-free aluminum, but it should focus on those suppliers who are still affecting the environment. One of the major initiatives by Apple is that they have manufactured the recycled products so that the consumer can recycle their products and the material can be reused by the company (Fiscor, 2017). The sustainability goals of the company are making without taking which clearly stated that the company is focusing on providing great products to the customer without harming the global economy. Each device is measured to understand its impact on carbon footprints. Moreover, the company is helping other suppliers to achieve sustainability. The average energy consumption has also reduced by 70 percent. The organization is focusing on steel, copper, gold, tungsten, cobalt as these efforts will prevent the company from mining the non-renewable resources. These efforts will help the company to reduce carbon footprints. This project proposal will analyze the sustainability challenges with the help of peer-reviewed articles. We are analysing the sustainable development of Apple Inc. The present scenario of sustainability will also be discussed in the paper. 

Literature review

According to Fiscor (2017), Apple Inc. is trying to accomplish some of its major sustainability goals like reducing the carbon footprints. The company released its sustainability report which stated that their 96 percent of electricity comes from renewable resources. The author highlighted that the Apple might achieve the goals of developing all of its products from 100 percent renewable and recycled resources, but it is not possible for the rest of the world (Fiscor, 2017). Although moving away from mining is not at all easy for the company but they are trying to end their reliance on the mining. The company has found some of the alternative resources so that they can eliminate the use of harmful materials. The study indicates that the company is heavily relying on some of its major suppliers for developing components. The research also raises a concern about the mining business as the most popular companies are saying that they want to end their reliance on mining.

Research provided by Penz and Polsa (2018), describe how the companies can reduce their carbon footprints and communicate the measures to the stakeholders. Companies are trying to measure carbon performances. The companies developed corporate carbon strategies to reduce carbon footprints. Furthermore, the stakeholders also influence the decisions making process of the companies. The research is focusing on two types of carbon footprints including CCF (corporate carbon footprint) and PCF (product carbon footprint). CCF helps to measure the GHG (greenhouse emissions) emissions of the company. Several alternatives are available to measure the CF of the company. PCF and CCF are combined to overcome the problem of carbon footprints (Penz & Polsa 2018). The company also focuses on meeting the needs of their potential stakeholder including, customers, suppliers, and shareholders. Moreover, the external stakeholders majorly influence the decision making of the company. CF strategies help the companies to identify the key stakeholders and communicating the essential information to them. Hence, it is very necessary to communicate the CCF and PCF activities to the external stakeholders. The company can improve its brand image by communicating their sustainability goals to the customer and other stakeholders. The stakeholder’s demand for environment protection is met by adopting effective CF strategies. This research is similar to the above research work in terms of the strategies adopted by the companies to reduce carbon footprints. Companies should make their decisions by undertaking all the aspects as their decisions can affect the stakeholders. The study revealed that the company should disclose their sustainability reports and carbon disclosure projects (Penz & Polsa 2018). GHG emissions can be reduced by implementing effective waste management policies.

The research work of Doda, Gennaioli, Gouldson, Grover & Sullivan (2016), is assessing the effectiveness of corporate carbon management practices in reducing the carbon emissions. The study explained that corporate carbon emissions can create various environmental issues. However, the results explained that CMPs practices may reduce the carbon footprints of various companies. Moreover, companies should identify their target in terms of reducing GHG emissions. They should also ensure that their corporate carbon management practices are working in the right direction (Doda, Gennaioli, Gouldson, Grover & Sullivan 2016). The limitation of the work can be understood for not elaborating the effective strategies for reducing carbon emissions. Thus, a need for an explicit research paper that can elaborate on the concepts is observed.

In contrast to the study of Penz and Polsa (2018), the research work of Vasan, Sood and Pecht (2014), aim to identify the challenges of meeting the existing CF standards. The electronic industries must identify their GHG and carbon emissions. The paper is discussing the ways through which the company can identify its carbon emissions rates. The change in the climatic conditions presents a major challenge in front of the global economy and the industries are trying to support the sustainable development goals by reducing the GHG emissions. However, major efforts are needed to solve the major issue (Vasan, Sood & Pecht 2014). The external stakeholders are also pressurizing the companies to reduce their carbon emission rates. Moreover, certain restrictions are made on the use of some harmful material as they can affect the health of the environment. One of the major challenges for the electronic companies is that the products are associated with the high GHG emissions and to reduce this problem the companies need great efforts. CF analysis is very useful for electronic companies as it helps to identify the wasteful resources and reduces the cost of manufacturing. The study revealed that CF analysis is very effective and it helps to increase the sustainability of the company. The major aim of the research is to find the impact of the specific products on the environment. The supply chain management of the companies should be transparent so that they can show that they are reducing the environmental impacts. The entire process of manufacturing electronic products is associated with the release of GHG emissions and carbon emissions (Vasan, Sood & Pecht, 2014).

The use and disposal phase are also affecting the environment at a great extent. The annual energy consumption of electronic companies is high as they are not following any kind of legislation. This research work is supporting the view of Fiscor (2017), as the particular research work also stated the Apple INC, can achieve the goal of sustainability but it will be very difficult for other companies to accomplish the same goals. The CF methods and tools that are used by the electronics industries are not consistent as a result they are not able to focus on reducing the impact on the environment. Hence, the research explained that strict legislation is required to solve the problem of carbon emission (Vasan, Sood & Pecht 2014). The research work is different from the above two works as it throws light on the carbon footprint challenges facing the electronics industry.


Present scenario:

The present scenario of sustainable development is challenging as the world is facing some of the major issues. Climate changes, rapid urbanization, economic inequality, and financial crises are unresolved issues in the world economy. The rapid urbanization is changing the needs and demands of the individuals and the need for infrastructure is also increasing (Szabo et al. 2016). The United Nations highlighted these challenges which need a call for priority attention. In the present scenario, various countries are facing an economic and financial crisis which makes it difficult for these countries to achieve the goals of sustainability. Moreover, the per capita greenhouse emissions of developing nations are much than normal rates and carbon footprints are 4-9 times higher than the biocapacity.

Sustainable development strategies are needed to reduce some of the major environmental challenges. Strategies should ambitious and collaborative so that the company can resolve the major issues. The industries and individuals should focus on preserving natural resources. The change in consumption pattern will result in creating the need for technological advancements. In the present scenario, all international companies are focusing on innovate their products without actually worrying about the negative consequences on the environment. Moreover, innovative policy reforms can make the guidelines for the global organization so that they can focus on the harmful impacts of their products. Sustainable development strategies are focusing on human development. Some of the developing countries have developed major more advanced policies that will result in improving the current issues of sustainability.

Some of the major challenges influence companies from achieving sustainability goals (Mohrman & Shani, 2011). Several businesses claim that sustainability does not fit into the company’s business. The companies explained that the customers do not pay attention to the sustainability factors and they just want great innovative products. Government’s policies are not directly related to sustainability goals. The surveys and researches explained that half of the business corporation ignores the sustainability goals of the United Nations. 

International companies like Apple also explained that the life cycle process of their products released around 77 percent greenhouse emissions (Blanco & Razzaque, 2012). However, there is no specific solution for the bad e-waste and they are still impacting the environment at a larger extent. But the problem can be solved by recycling some of the metals, but the materials like plastics create several problems as they are not recyclable. The company created the recycling robot which is specifically designed to recycling and deconstructing the IPhone and mac books.

Affordable and clean energy

This action is focusing on providing sustainable and modern energy to the entire organization. The business should try to implement some of the major policies so that they can achieve sustainable goals. They should pay close attention to critical climate issues. The climate change policy agenda is focusing on reducing the harmful effects on the environment (Songini, Pistoni & Herzig, 2013). Apple Inc. is fulfilling the goals of sustainability. The organization is using renewable resources to manufacture the products. Moreover, the companies should try to link their goals with the UN sustainable development goals. If their goals are not developed in the right direction then they will not be able to achieve the goal of sustainability. 

Enhancing management system

The concept off sustainable development should be incorporated into the policies and procedures of the organization. However, it needs systematic procedures and process to implement sustainable goals. The organization should focus on continuous improvements in their production processes (Smith, Bhattacharya, Vogel, & Levine, 2010). The stakeholder analysis will help the company in understanding the issues and needs of the key stakeholder in terms of sustainable development. The stakeholder analysis helps to identify the group that will be affected by the business operation.

Setting sustainable goals and policies

Organizations should ensure that their employees understand the sustainable goals and objectives. The top management is responsible for developing effective sustainable policies for the companies. Though, the policy on environmental protection is a great step towards achieving sustainability (Lam, Walker, & Hills, 2014). The company should identify, assess and manage the environmental risks that are associated with the product life cycle. The organization, Apple Inc. has achieved this goal by working on 100 percent renewable energy. The policies of the organizations should comply with the legal and ethical requirements of the country. Business Corporation should implement the policy of reuse and recycle principles to achieve the goals of sustainability. A formal environment protection program can indicate that the company is to protect the environment.


After assessing all the research papers, it can conclude that there are Business Corporations which are trying to achieve their sustainable development goals. Nevertheless, most cases also indicate that the sustainable goals are not compatible with the goals of Business Corporation but some of the major companies have proved that it can be achieved by implementing effective policies. We have also understood that carbon footprints are one of the major reasons for climate change and the organizations should try to solve the major issue. At the same time, sustainable development is possible to stress for many organizations are they are ignoring the SDGs of the United Nations. However, sustainable companies can protect themselves from global recessions, workers strike and scandals. Moreover, sustainable development is not an easy task for organizations.

The company should try to communicate their sustainability efforts to the internal and external stakeholders. A business leader should try to embed sustainability in the corporate culture. The innovations and technological advancements are necessary for the business but it should support sustainability also. The business leader has identified that climate change is one of the major issues for business. The carbon emissions of the electronic industries are presenting a major challenge in front of business leaders. Moreover, various companies do not identify any kind of specific measure to solve the issue. The literature reviews have also revealed that there are some of the methods through which the organization can reduce GHG emissions. Although, some of the studies also indicate that some of the organizations cannot achieve sustainable development goals.


The organization should implement sustainability as a part of their mission. This will indicate that the company's supply chain, partnership, and decisions are supporting sustainability decisions. Moreover, it is problematic for some of the companies to achieve sustainability goals. Sustainable companies like Apple think about long term goals. They also provide ways to reduce the use of natural resources. The sustainable mission helps to direct the company towards the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Waste management is one of the effective strategies for reducing harm to the environment. They should implement green initiatives to use the resources in a more effective manner. Organizations should focus on cutting down the useful waste from their production process and this will helps in reducing the manufacturing cost.  Apple Inc. is working towards reducing the e-waste by manufacturing the 100 percent recyclable products. However, recycling cannot solve the problem of waste as some of the products are not recyclable. Reduce; reuse and recycling program can solve this problem. Moreover, electronic companies need more advanced recycling programs to recycle their e-waste. Several other companies should also implement the efforts that will be used to solve the e-waste problems.  

The sustainability efforts start with CSR initiatives. The employees are the ones who make the biggest impact in executing the initiatives. The companies should try to discuss the ways that will directly reduce the impact on the environment. The initiatives like recycling programs will help to involve the employees in sustainability initiatives. Sustainable programs are beneficial for organizations. The employee should be involved in making the sustainable goals they can provide more effective ideas to achieve sustainable solutions. The ideas will help to develop an effective sustainable solution for the company.

Some of the research papers are not identifying the methods through which the problem of carbon footprints can be solved. The research is precise so we are not able to implement some more authentic studies which can enhance the work. The major limitation of the research is that it is limited due to the specific word count. Moreover, the techniques that were used by authors to collect the data may be limited. Some research work can also be biased as it is only focusing on the carbon footprints, no other factors that highly affect the environment. 


Doda, B., Gennaioli, C., Gouldson, A., Grover, D., & Sullivan, R. (2016). Are corporate carbon management practices reducing corporate carbon emissions?. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 23(5), 257-270.Albers Mohrman, S., & Shani, A. B. (Eds.). (2011). Organizing for sustainability. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Fiscor, S. (2017). Apple to End Its Reliance on Mining. Engineering and Mining     Journal, 218(5), 2.

Kashmanian, R. M. (2015). Building a sustainable supply chain: Key elements. Environmental Quality Management, 24(3), 17-41.

Kashmanian, R. M. (2015). Building a sustainable supply chain: Key elements. Environmental Quality Management, 24(3), 17-41.

Penz, E., &Polsa, P. (2018). How do companies reduce their carbon footprint and how do they communicate these measures to stakeholders? Journal of Cleaner Production, 195, 1125–1138.doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.05.263

Nikolopoulou, A., Abraham, T., &Mirbagheri, F. (Eds.). (2010). Education for sustainable development: Challenges, strategies and practices in a globalizing world. SAGE Publications India.

Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, R. (2013). Global Development Goals and Linkages to Health and Sustainability: Workshop Summary.

Sen, A. (2013). A survey of sustainable development: social and economic dimensions (Vol. 6). Island Press.

Szabo, S., Nicholls, R. J., Neumann, B., Renaud, F. G., Matthews, Z., Sebesvari, Z., ... & Foufoula-Georgiou, E. (2016). Making SDGs work for climate change hotspots. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 58(6), 24-33.

United Nations.Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2013). World economic and social survey 2013: Sustainable development challenges. UN.

Vasan, A., Sood, B., &Pecht, M. (2014). Carbon footprinting of electronic products. Applied Energy, 136, 636–648.

Williams, O. F. (2014). Sustainable development: The UN Millennium Development goals, the UN Global Compact, and the common good.

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