updated 11:43 am EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Jackson takes stance against degrowth
The head of Apple's environmental efforts, Lisa Jackson, was asked to defend the company's carbon footprint at a Fortune environmental conference on Tuesday, new video (below) shows. Former mountaineer Rick Ridgeway -- now himself an environmental VP, at Patagonia -- asked how Apple could brag about reducing the carbon footprint of individual products while the company's overall footprint is continually increasing. By definition, a successful capitalist business will continue expanding and/or manufacturing more products, increasing pollution or at least resource consumption. Ridgeway admitted that this is a problem at his own company.
"Listen, if all of us sustainability professionals have to resort to 'make and sell less stuff' as the answer to the problem, then we are suffering from an extraordinary lack of imagination," Jackson responded. "And innovation. One of the things that your company -- certainly I think Apple -- is about is trying to understand where the technology innovations and other innovations are that help us to reduce carbon intensity. We're not advocating for less people to have access to our products. That's not the answer we're looking for."
Partly in response to criticism from groups like Greenpeace, Apple has tried to mitigate its environmental impact. All of its datacenters are now entirely powered by renewable energy, and the upcoming "spaceship" campus in Cupertino will rely heavily on it. The company has also tried to minimize its packaging, and eliminate toxins from its electronics.