Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Apple Hires Former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson 

<p>Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson is joining Apple as vice president for environmental initiatives. </p>

Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson is joining Apple as vice president for environmental initiatives.

The company's CEO Tim Cook broke the news on Tuesday at the The Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Apple's green efforts so far are a bit of a mixed bag, but the company has made progress. After sustaining criticism from environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, due to a reliance on fossil fuels to power the company's numerous massive datacenters, Apple switched to more green-friendly power sources. In March, Apple declared that its datacenters were completely powered by renewable energy sources, a combination of solar, wind and geothermal energy. The company's corporate facilities are at 75 percent renewable energy — a 114 percent increase since 2010.

According to a company webpage, 100 percent renewable is the goal:

"To get to 100 percent worldwide, we're constructing new energy-efficient buildings and updating existing ones. We're installing our own onsite renewable energy sources, including solar arrays and fuel cells. And for the balance of our energy needs, we're establishing as many long-term contracts with energy suppliers as we are allowed."

Community perception is very important to Apple. After its withdrawal last year from the popular green labeling program, EPEAT, was widely bashed, the company quickly reversed its position. With an accomplished emissary leading environmental concerns, Apple may avert these kinds of public relations snafus.

Jackson shared the following statement via email with Politico:

"I'm incredibly impressed with Apple's commitment to the environment and I'm thrilled to be joining the team.

"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.

"I look forward to helping support and promote these efforts, as well as leading new ones in the future aimed at protecting the environment."

Jackson stepped down from her role as EPA chief in February, after a four-year tenure. She first joined the agency in 1987 as a staff-level engineer. Her Obama-nominated replacement, Gina McCarthy, is currently awaiting full confirmation by the Senate.