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Apple backs a CA bill urging firms to reveal “Scope 3 emissions.” Can this move pave the way for transparent corporate climate impact disclosures globally?

In a recent development, Apple has expressed strong support for a California bill that seeks to enhance transparency in corporate climate emissions reporting. The tech giant believes that companies should disclose not only their direct emissions but also those emanating from their supply chains, known as "Scope 3 emissions."

Mike Foulkes, who oversees state and local government affairs at Apple, conveyed the company's stance in a letter to California State Senator Scott Wiener, one of the proponents of the bill. The legislation, identified as Senate Bill 253, mandates businesses with an annual revenue over $1 billion to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Foulkes emphasized, "To ensure accuracy and transparency, we strongly believe that companies' carbon emissions disclosures should include their Scope 3 emissions." He acknowledged the challenges in measuring these emissions but underscored their importance in comprehending a company's full climate impact.

To understand this better, emissions are categorized into three scopes. Scope 1 encompasses emissions from sources owned by the company, such as vehicles and furnaces. Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions resulting from electricity, heating, and cooling procured by the company. "Scope 3 emissions" are more complex, originating from the company's supply chain, and are generally the most substantial source of a company's greenhouse gas emissions.

According to CNBC,
Senate Bill 253 outlines a phased approach to this disclosure requirement. Initially, companies will report their Scope 1 and 2 emissions from 2026. Reporting of "Scope 3 emissions" will commence in 2027, with a review and necessary updates to the regulations scheduled for 2029 and 2030.

Despite the intricate nature of "Scope 3 emissions," involving educated assumptions and complex modeling, Foulkes expressed confidence in the feasibility of accurately reporting these emissions. He noted, "We believe, however, that our reports attest to the feasibility of reasonably modeling, measuring and reporting on all three scopes of emissions, including scope 3 emissions, which represent the overwhelming majority of most companies' carbon footprint and are therefore critical to include."

Senator Wiener appreciated Apple's endorsement, sharing his gratitude on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Furthermore, Apple advocated for third-party oversight in emissions reporting and urged for harmonized standards at various governmental levels to avoid duplicative reports. Foulkes conveyed, "Given the likely proliferation of mandatory disclosures at the international, national, and sub-national level, we would appreciate the provisions for the state board to minimize the need for reporting entities to prepare duplicative reports or engage multiple assurance providers. We would welcome further efforts to promote convergence at a national and international level."

This move comes as federal regulators are pondering over the introduction of corporate climate disclosures, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposing rules to enforce disclosure of climate-related business risks.

Apple's endorsement of the bill reflects its commitment to environmental transparency and its readiness to adapt to potential regulatory changes in climate disclosures globally.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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