Apple’s Partnering with a Soy Sauce Company – But Why?

Tim Cook Soy Sauce Credit: Wikimedia / Shutterstock
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Apple is partnering with a popular Taiwanese soy sauce company, Wan Ja Shan Brewery Co., to help install rooftop solar panels on one of its soy sauce facilities. That is, apparently, not a joke.

A Wan Ja Shan Brewer manager told Bloomberg that Apple is developing rooftop solar arrays for the Taiwan-based soy sauce producer. Specifically, for a 50,000-square-meter soy sauce facility in the Taiwanese country of Pingtung. According to the report, the partnership was the result of about 18 months of negotiation.

It’s tough to draw any firm conclusions about what’s going on, since an Apple spokesperson only referred Bloomberg to its standard environmental webpage. Don’t worry if you’re confused — it’s objectively strange news.

A press release from U.S. energy nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) doesn’t shed much more light, but it does reveal a couple of other details. The CRS said it is expanding its renewable energy certification program in Asia, starting with “pilot projects from Apple in Singapore and Taiwan.”

The only other information in the report is that Apple is working with Wan Ja Shan Brewery Co. to “co-develop” the solar array. Apple has apparently secured a “long-term contract” to own the project’s renewable energy certificates.

Last year, Apple announced that all of its global facilities were officially powered by 100 percent renewable energy. That includes brick-and-mortar retail locations, offices and data centers spread across 43 countries. Earlier this month, it was also revealed that Apple is the largest corporate user of solar power in the U.S.

The Cupertino tech giant is also pushing its suppliers to go green — this year, it said 44 supply chain partners have committed to making Apple products on 100 percent clean energy.

But Apple does not make soy sauce. And until this report, there had been no indication that Wan Ja Shan Brewery Co. was connected to Apple in any way.

There may be another hint in the CRS press release, however. The energy nonprofit says that Apple’s pilot programs in Taiwan and Singapore will “make it easier for other companies to certify their renewable energy use in the region.”

Apple has a variety of key strategic partners in Taiwan and elsewhere in the area — including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. Co, Apple’s chief chip-making partner.

Still, there are no firm answers as to what is going on. It’s clear that Apple’s solar projects in the region, including the soy sauce rooftop array, are connected to its broader environmental initiatives. It’s just not clear how yet.

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