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Apple Thinks Climate Change Disasters Will Increase Its Brand Value

The iPhone maker's filing to UK-based organization CDP shows how the company expects to adapt and thrive as severe weather events become more common.

by Jordan Pearson
Jan 23 2019, 4:17pm

Images: Shutterstock. Composition: Author

Where most people observe severe weather events exacerbated by climate change—like hurricanes and wildfires—and see doom and gloom, Apple sees an opportunity to sell more iPhones and increase its “brand value.”

That’s according to filings Apple made to CDP, a UK-based organization that gives companies a letter grade based on their environmental impact, as well as the risks and opportunities that climate change presents for their operations. Bloomberg first reported on the filings on Tuesday, and CDP shared them with Motherboard over email.

According to Bloomberg, filings to CDP are more fulsome than those filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, because it asks companies to engage with specific threats posed by climate change.

“As severe weather events become more frequent, consumers may come to value more highly the immediate and ubiquitous availability of reliable mobile computing devices for use in situations where transportation, power, and other services may be temporarily interrupted,” Apple’s filings to CDP states.

Mobile devices can provide emergency aid instructions, act as a flashlight or a siren, and “they can be charged for many days via car batteries or even hand cranks,” the filing states, bringing to mind the image of poncho-draped survivors desperately charging a dented iPhone with a hand crank in a crumbling, irradiated city.

Read More: California Wildfires Have Created Climate Refugees in a Walmart Parking Lot

Apple’s filing notes that as severe weather events become more common, customers may experience an “increasing need for confidence and preparedness” with regards to the “well-being of loved ones.” Here, Apple puts forward its SOS service—which allows users to quickly contact emergency services—as an example of a feature that meets this need. The filing also mentions Apple’s free “Find My Friends” app.

Apple expects to see an increase in brand value thanks to severe weather.

“If customers value our work to help increase their sense of connectedness, personal safety, and peace of mind, during extreme weather events, we may expect some increase in customer loyalty or brand value,” the filing states.

Apple also claims that “climate change policies” may make electricity more expensive, and so energy-efficient devices may be preferred by consumers in the future. Again, Apple expects to benefit from this situation.

“If Apple is successful in creating products attractive to people whose purchasing habits are changing due to concerns about climate change or rising electricity prices, it may result in a small competitive differentiator for our hardware products,” Apple’s filing to CDP states.

Apple spokespeople weren’t immediately available to comment (Bloomberg noted that Apple did not respond to a request for comment from the outlet).

Apple—which promotes a product cycle that’s bad for the planet and, despite advertising its device-recycling robot, has in practice forced recyclers to shred its products and has lobbied against the right to repair—is hardly alone in boasting about how it plans to cash in on climate change’s disastrous effects. For example, as Bloomberg pointed out, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. expects that climate change will increase demand for drugs for “tropical and weather related diseases including waterborne illness.”

When Florida is finally swept into the sea, at least there will be brand value.

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