Through a press release and a post on Medium by Apple VP Lisa Jackson, Apple and The Conservation Fund have today announced a ‘breakthrough’ arrangement for sustainability. The deal involves Apple purchasing 36,000 acres of forest land in the eastern United States.

Apple will use the paper from the forests for sustainable product packaging with guarantees to ensure that “forests stay forests” and harvested timber is done so in a sustainable way.

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The total area protected by the agreement between Apple and The Conservation Fund is is larger than the city of San Fransisco, according to the press release. The land is bought in two areas; Reed Forest in Maine and Brunswick Forest in North Carolina.

Apple and The Conservation Fund are protecting more than 32,400 acres on the Mattawamkeag River in Aroostook County, Maine. Reed’s wetlands, rivers and upland forest provide refuge in Maine’s iconic North Woods for Atlantic salmon, bald eagle, northern goshawk and Canada lynx. This project builds on a broader landscape of more than a million acres of conserved lands and interconnected forest habitat that stretches beyond the border into New Brunswick, Canada. Reed Forest will remain a working forest, ensuring continued fiber production and protecting jobs and recreational opportunities.

The partnership will protect more than 3,600 acres of pine and hardwood forest in Brunswick County, along the southern coast of North Carolina. This property sits adjacent to the 17,000-acre Green Swamp Preserve, which builds connectivity and halts fragmentation for this National Natural Landmark. With high-quality pine savannas and striking and unusual plants and flowers, it had long been a conservation priority. The Brunswick Forest will be managed by the Fund as a sustainable working forest.

This is part of a scheme that is called the Working Forest Fund. In the Medium post, Lisa Jackson says the project will ensure the protection of Atlantic salmon, bald eagles and Canada lynx. In addition, it will also protect jobs and recreational opportunities. In the same article, Jackson reassures onlookers that the partnership is mutually beneficial. Apple will zero out the impact of its packaging.

This partnership is mutually beneficial. Apple is quantifying the virgin paper footprint from its packaging. Apple is committed to zeroing out that impact by using paper more efficiently, increasing recycled paper content, sourcing paper sustainably, and conserving acreage of working forests around the world equivalent to its virgin paper footprint. The Conservation Fund is committed to identifying and conserving those acres in the U.S. Through conservation easements, they will ensure these lands remain forests in the future. This helps preserve the supply of raw materials for paper while providing permanent environmental protection and fighting climate change.

Since Tim Cook took over, Apple has focused more on environmental efforts. In February, Apple announced a deal to start a $850 million solar energy farm to offset all energy operations of its new campus. Cook has been criticised by some shareholders for devoting resources to sustainability efforts. Cook famously said that ‘if you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock’.

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