Apple, which hasn’t always had a peachy relationship with the environmental community, is winning plaudits for its hiring of Lisa Jackson, who recently departed after a four-year stint as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
CEO Tim Cook let this cat out of the bag on Tuesday in an interview at All Things D’s D11 conference. He said he couldn’t remember what title he gave Jackson, but that she would report to him. He revealed the hire in a lengthy defense of Apple’s environmental credentials.
“She’s going to be coordinating a lot of this activity across the company and looking for ways to take what we’re doing even to another level,” Cook said. “From products to facilities and all the things that we do.”
Jackson navigated a difficult path during her EPA tenure as the Obama administration pursued tougher standards on air, water and climate change with enough vigor to irk Republicans but, at times, not enough to please hardcore greens.
In an email to the Washington Post, Jackson had this to say about her new job:
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.
If the Jackson hire was meant in part to burnish Apple’s green reputation, it appeared to be working. One of groups that’s often held Apple’s feet to the fire, Greenpeace, announced itself quite pleased with the hire.
“Apple has made a bold move in hiring Lisa Jackson, a proven advocate with a track record of combating toxic waste and the dirty energy that causes global warming, two of Apple’s biggest challenges as it continues to grow,” Greenpeace Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook said in an emailed statement. ”Jackson can make Apple the top environmental leader in the tech sector by helping the company use its influence to push electric utilities and governments to provide the clean energy that both Apple and America need right now.”