Apple says its work on climate change in Europe will not be hindered by its ongoing legal battles with the EU over what Brussels believes are unfair competitive practices.
Speaking to Euronews in Vienna, the tech giant's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said its corporate operations are already carbon neutral and that all efforts are now on greening their supply chain by 2030.
"Our commitment to sustainability to be climate neutral, to the circular economy is our commitment. We're not backing down from it, it's not conditioned on any other discussions that we might be having with governments across Europe," Jackson said.
Apple’s latest recycling innovation, a robot that the company calls ‘Dave’, dismantles some of the parts from Apple devices so that they can be recycled more efficiently, which are still mined in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo amid concerns about child labour and the conditions of workers.
"Ethical labour and environmental practices across the globe - that's just the entry level way of doing business. Apple wants to go further than that and be the corporate leader, not only in the sourcing of materials, but in the recycling and reuse of materials because these materials are precious," Jackson told Euronews.
The Apple Vice President was in Vienna to accept an award as a climate-leading company from the Austrian World Summit - a starred-studded annual event founded by Austrian-born Hollywood star Arnold Schwartzenegger.
Barbara Buchner, CEO of the Climate Policy Initiative, who was attending the event says tech firms, particularly in Asia, need to be more transparent.
"There need to be regulatory requirements that really make sure that they disclose their information and that we can report what's their target and at the same time make sure that there is accountability on how they source their products and the parts of their products," Buchner told Euronews.
This Vienna conference is seen as a precursor to the global COP26 summit of governments, which will take place in Glasgow at the end of October.
The COP26 President, British MP Alok Shama, said that every country in the world needs to contribute to emission reductions.
"There has been progress. We've got 70% of the world economy now covered by a net-zero target. All the G7 countries have stepped forward with ambitious plans to cut emissions. We need the whole world to do this now, particularly the big emitters, particularly those countries of the G20 that need to make these commitments," Sharma told Euronews.
Egils Levits, the Latvian President, also says the political implications of inaction would be severe.
"Europe is the most progressive in this aspect, but if we would not be serious concerning environmental goals then, of course, we will lose our geopolitical influence and this would be worse for all Europeans," Levits explained to Euronews.
The EU is set to announce on July 14 a raft of climate proposals for how it wants to hit its target of being the first totally climate-neutral continent by 2050.