Among many other topics mentioned during CEO Tim Cook's talk
at D11 today, one bit of genuine previously-unannounced news came out: Apple has hired the former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, to head up its environmental responsibility efforts. Jackson will report directly to Cook and will be overseeing the eco-friendly efforts of Apple's data centers and other initiatives "across the company."
Jackson was head of the EPA for four years during the first Obama administration, and spearheaded the effort to get carbon dioxide and other chemicals listed as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. She also lead an ultimately unsuccessful effort to strengthen smog legislation, which was voted down due to continuing economic malaise and fear that the effort to clean up smog issues with more enforcement would cost too much.
Apple is already an industry leader in environmental responsibility in the electronics world, regularly issuing reports on its progress and producing a line of computers and iOS devices that are far more environmentally-friendly and use more recyclable materials than any of its competitors. The company does, however, have critics
both in Greenpeace and the government's EPEAT
board, both of which have criticized some Apple moves (like gluing in batteries, also widely done at other companies) as well as praised some policies.
Cook described Jackson's new role as "quite different" from what she had been doing as head of a federal agency, and expressed confidence in her, saying "she'll fit right in with our culture." Cook's only executive new hire prior to Jackson, however, was retail head John Browett -- who famously didn't fit in with Apple's philosophies and was pushed out
after a year.