Apple will invest in 200 megawatts of solar energy projects in China  and has  pledged to work with factories in the region to source more renewable energy and improve their energy efficiency.

The tech giant, who base the majority of their manufacturing operations in China recently  come under criticism due to the heavy pollution caused by its Chinese suppliers.  The new energy project will offset the carbon produced by Apple’s supply chain in the region, where much of the electricity is produced from coal.

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Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said “the 200 megawatts projects will produce the equivalent of the energy used by more by than 265,000 Chinese homes in a year  and will avoid over 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in China between now and 2020.  These projects go beyond Apple’s operations in China to help our suppliers adopt clean renewable energy,”

The company now says its China operations are “carbon neutral”, as the solar installations produce more energy than is used by its offices and retail stores throughout the country.

Four years ago, Chinese environmental groups accused Apple of turning a blind eye as its suppliers polluted the country by emitting toxic gases and discharging heavy metal sludge. Furthermore, in the United States, Apple was criticised by environmental group Greenpeace in 2012 for relying too heavily on fossil-fuel-based energy to power its energy-hungry data centres.

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On Wednesday, “Greenpeace said the company had taken a big  step forward in greening its supply chain.”

Apple has also taken steps to operate more cleanly in its home state of California. In February, the iPhone maker said it would buy about $850 million of power from a new California solar farm to cut its energy bill and supply electricity for its new campus in Silicon Valley as well as other offices and stores.

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