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Apple’s Tim Cook Advocates for AI’s Role in Achieving Environmental Goals at China Forum

At the China Development Forum, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., highlighted the major role of artificial intelligence (AI) in assisting companies to diminish their environmental impact. In his address during a climate change discussion, Cook underscored AI’s potential in fostering sustainable practices among businesses. Before the forum, Cook’s engagement with China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao unveiled plans for deeper investment in the region, as reported by Bloomberg.

In related news, Apple is reportedly considering collaborations with Google, OpenAI, and others to integrate generative AI features into iOS 18. This move is part of Apple’s broader strategy to mitigate carbon emissions, positioning itself as a frontrunner in sustainability efforts. The Apple Watch is a testament to these efforts, the company’s inaugural carbon-neutral offering.

Cook stressed the necessity of innovation in achieving environmental targets, noting that AI offers a comprehensive suite of tools for companies striving towards carbon neutrality or substantial emission reductions. However, he also acknowledged the challenges Chinese tech firms face due to US trade sanctions in advancing AI technologies.

The backdrop of Cook’s visit was Beijing’s endeavour to demonstrate its openness to global business partnerships, amid tense US-China relations. Cook’s interactions with China’s Premier Li Qiang and other global business leaders further emphasised the trip’s emphasis on environmental sustainability, avoiding potential geopolitical frictions.

Apple has already achieved carbon neutrality in its operations and is on a path to reach net zero climate impact by 2030 for its entire business footprint. The company is also committed to phasing out plastic from its product packaging by 2025, exemplified by the elimination of exterior plastic wraps from iPhone 13 boxes, which prevented 600 metric tons of plastic waste, showcasing the impact of incremental changes on a global scale.

Rugmini Dinu