Apple hires ex-EPA chief to head environmental strategy

Apple has hired former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson to lead the company's clean tech and energy efficiency efforts.

Chief executive Tim Cook announced the appointment recently, confirming that Jackson will report directly to him and take charge of steering Apple's wide-ranging environmental policy.

Jackson stepped down from her role as head of the EPA in January following a 26-year career at the agency. During her time as administrator, she was at the center of battles over air quality regulations and the scope of the EPA's jurisdiction, which has been repeatedly challenged by Republicans since the Obama administration came to power.

Apple, meanwhile, has faced criticism over its environmental credentials, with green groups criticising its use of coal power to run its data centers, a perceived lack of transparency in its supply chain, and last year's controversial decision to opt out of popular U.S. green labeling scheme EPEAT, which resulted in a swift U-turn by the company a few days later.

However, Cook has repeatedly stated that environmental concerns have been among his key priorities since he took over from Steve Jobs in 2011.

Under his stewardship, Apple produced a widely-praised supply chain audit and has stepped up its commitment to green energy, increasing its use of renewable energy by 50 per cent.

Around three-quarters of the energy used at Apple facilities now comes from renewable sources and the company has pledged to secure 100 per cent of its power from clean sources through increased use of the solar power and fuel cell technology already fueling its $1B data center in Maiden, N.C.

Photo of Apple store in New York provided by Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

This story originally appeared at BusinessGreen and is reprinted with permission.