#Asia The most important Apple announcement ever

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(And no. I’m not talking about the iPhone SE)

Apple FINAL

I have always looked forward to the Apple Keynotes.

Born in 1989, I grew up with Apple. Not just with its products, but its powerful message and encouragement to think different, be myself, and create.

As a filmmaker for in my early life, I grew with the company’s evolution — not just of hardware like Mac Pro, but software too (even now, all my films are cut together with their immensely powerful tool FCPx).

Along the way, it has been awe-inspiring to watch products like iMovie and the iPad and iPhones give friends and clients the ability to become storytellers, composers, designers and creatives.

So obviously, when the Apple keynote was announced for March 21, 2016  —  I was intrigued and excited, as always, to see what would be announced.

But, this time was truly different.

For the first time ever, Apple floored me more than they have ever done before.

They didn’t start with a new product line or partnership… it started with: The Environment.

With great power comes great responsibility

After reminding us exactly just how large Apple has become, with “more than 1 billion Apple devices in use around the world.” Tim Cook also recognised that with this huge growth comes a huge responsibility.

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He was reflective on the fact that the size of Apple’s market is, “an indicator of the impact we will have on the planet”.

But what brought a tear of excitement to my eye   was not that this was some charitable appeal. Tim shared with us that Apple sees not only the great responsibility, the great opportunity to impact lives for the better.

To preserve and protect

There is no greater challenge to humanity than our changing climate, which meant the first question asked was:

What is Apple doing to combat climate change?

Like a few companies around the world, Apple set an ambitious target to become powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. This seems ambitious, as most countries struggle with alternative energy sources, but Apple announced that it has indeed already hit 93 per cent worldwide.

Amazingly, it has already hit 100 per cent in world’s two largest pollution violators, China and the US.

It has implemented solar to over 800 rooftops in Singapore which will also be 100 per cent carbon neutral (you can read more about it here).

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But it is not just energy.

The company announced amazing milestones in forestry, because, they want to add to the world supply of paper rather than take from it, partnering with WWF to create 1 million acres of new forestry in China.

Furthermore Apple has now hit 99 per cent of its goal to have all paper products to be either from recycled paper or sustainably managed forests.

But that is not all.

Introducing Liam


My favourite part of the announcement however was getting to know Liam.

“Hello!”

Liam is a pretty cool dude.

He is an R&D Project which allows Apple to deconstruct and repurpose their products to reuse and recycle. If you have old Apple products you no longer use or need, you can send them to the company and Liam will take care of it. People can even request for Apple to send a prepaid envelope so they can post it to them.

This ‘Renew’ project is incredibly exciting for nerds like myself who love new innovation and tech, but are also incredibly passionate about waste, reducing consumption and overall minimising impact on precious natural resources (some which can not be replaced).

True innovation means considering what happens to a product at EVERY stage of it’s life cycle.

You can not truly innovate unless you are considering the entire impact of your product, and that is why Liam is such a great example for other tech startups and companies to think BEYOND what sits in front of them.

Beyond environment and improving lives

The wonderful thing about the event was that not only did the first section include environment, recycling, forestry  —  but the second section continued with positive social impact on the topic of healthcare.

(Sorry to everyone waiting for the product announcements! But this was just too exciting!)

The ‘ResearchKit‘ has been incredible in the sense of utilising tech to solve problems in medical research. For example, it enabled the world’s largest ever study in Parkinson’s disease in human History  —  within 24 hours.

Because everyone carries their phones or watches with them, it is a fantastic way to get data and insights into medical research.

But going beyond, Apple realised this same tech could not JUST be for research, but actually help patients with their care, assessing symptom levels and beyond.

Can Apple become the world’s largest B Corporation?

Maybe.

I hope this announcement, along with maintaining their unparalleled reputation for quality products, will increase sales and improve their top and bottom line. Can they be the best case study in the world for integrating sustainability and social impact into a core part of their business?

I think so, and I wrote a letter.

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Dear Tim,

Apple has inspired me throughout my childhood to dream big, stay foolish and never stop creating. Now we’re five years into our journey as a social enterprise in Singapore, and I would like to return the favour and inspire you to take a step further.

Do the B Impact Assessment, and help us encourage more companies around the world to become B Corp. Certified.
With you onboard the B Corp. movement, it will help us to show companies all over Asia and the world, solid proof that the world’s most profitable companies CAN use business as a force for good.

You say when you think about the environment, you think about innovation. So join us in innovating the way business is done, and show the rest of the world’s most profitable companies they can discover a bigger purpose than profit alone.

Sincerely,
Thank you.
~ Jacqui Hocking, Co-Founder

Jacqui Hocking is the Co-Founder of Singaporean startup Gone Adventurin’.

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