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Apple Hires Former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson To Take On Environmental Challenges

Apple’s solution to its environmental woes: hire the former head of the EPA, of course.

Apple Hires Former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson To Take On Environmental Challenges

Apple has long been criticized for its environmental policies (we’ve written extensively about its pollution violations in China), but under the stewardship of CEO Tim Cook, it has begun to very publicly clean up. This week, the company made an extremely high-profile commitment to bettering its environmental policies by hiring Lisa Jackson, the former Environmental Protection Agency chief, as its senior environmental advisor.

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Jackson wrote to Politico about the news:

I’m incredibly impressed with Apple’s commitment to the environment and I’m thrilled to be joining the team,” Jackson told POLITICO via email, using her iPhone.

“Apple has shown how innovation can drive real progress by removing toxics from its products, incorporating renewable energy in its data center plans, and continually raising the bar for energy efficiency in the electronics industry,” she continued. “I look forward to helping support and promote these efforts, as well as leading new ones in the future aimed at protecting the environment.”

Apple hasn’t always had the easiest time working with the EPA. Last year, the company withdrew its products from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry (the big electronics standards group in the U.S.) before quickly returning to the program.

Jackson, on the other hand, has long been enamored of the tech industry. From a 2010 Fortune article:

“The tech field is younger and greener and cooler by nature. They take their products back, and they’re starting to have a real ethic of corporate responsibility.”

The next step, she says, is to look at electronic waste and see dollar signs. “People fight over garbage because garbage is money.” So thinking about recycling should make financial sense for industry.

She makes a simple demand: “When you think about how you’re designing, think about how it will come apart.”

With Jackson at the helm, perhaps Apple’s future products will be a little bit easier to take apart than the Macbook Pro with Retina Display, which iFixit’s Kyle Wiens called “the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart.”

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.

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