Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had attracted 340,000 Chinese fans by 11pm yesterday after he opened an account on Weibo.
“Hello, China! Happy to be back in Beijing, announcing innovative new environmental programs,” was Cook’s first post in both English and Chinese.
It drew more than 40,000 likes and 30,000 comments.
One of the programs is a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to protect a million acres of working forest in China, Xinhua news agency reported.
The multi-year project aims to make the supply of pulp, paper and wood products more sustainable and is part of an expansion of the company’s renewable energy and environmental protection initiatives in China, Apple said.
It did not disclose how much pulp, paper and wood it consumes annually.
Apple also announced it intends to expand its industry-leading renewable energy projects to manufacturing facilities in China, following a solar power project launched in southwest China’s Sichuan Province in April.
Apple has vowed to achieve a net-zero impact on the world’s supply of sustainable virgin fiber and power all of its operations worldwide entirely on renewable energy. Currently 87 percent of its global operations run on renewable energy.
“Apple’s support for this project and its environmental leadership show that protecting forests is not just good for society but important for business,” said Lo Sze Ping, chief executive officer for WWF China. Lo said he hopes the project will catalyze a new model of corporate leadership in promoting sustainable forest management and more efficient and responsible use of paper resources.
Last month, Apple announced the launch of a 40-megawatt solar power project in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
The project will not only help protect the environment, but also bring social and ecological benefits to local people, said Liu Zuoming, chief of Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, where the project is under construction.
“We hope that it can be copied and spread to other parts of the prefecture and the province,” Liu said.
Apple has been increasing its dependence on solar energy. In February, it announced it will spend US$848 million over 25 years to buy electricity from a large solar power plant to be built in California.
Apple also has solar farms built near its data centers in Maiden, North Carolina, and Reno, Nevada.