Apple (s AAPL) has hired former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson to oversee environmental activities at Apple, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced at AllThingsD’s D11 conference on Tuesday night. Jackson stepped down as EPA head in January, after serving under the Obama administration.
Cook said that Jackson will be reporting directly to him and will be in charge of Apple’s environmental policy. Cook made the announcement following a shout-out to Apple’s data center in North Carolina, which has a huge solar farm and fuel cell farm next to it, and used the data center as an example of how Apple can turn around public scrutiny.
Over the past several years Apple’s attention to environmental concerns has grown significantly. Once targeted by advocates like Greenpeace over toxic chemicals, batteries that can’t be easily replaced and poor working conditions for its manufacturers’ employees overseas, Apple now often receives high marks around its attention to the environment. Apple has been increasing its dedication to running its data centers off of clean power, to lowering its carbon footprint and to reducing waste and toxic chemicals from its devices.
Even so, Apple has still stumbled over environmental regulations. A year ago, Apple, newly led by Cook, decided to walk away from certifying its computers for the green electronics method EPEAT, but then later reversed that decision, calling it a mistake. Cook can now take a cue from Jackson, a leader with a long history with environmental regulations and metrics.