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Apple's environmental chief addresses ballooning carbon footprint, clean energy initiatives

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
At Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference on Tuesday, Apple VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson went in-depth on the company's multiple green projects and fielded questions, including one regarding the industry-wide problem of reducing a firm's carbon footprint while growing as a business.


Flagship Apple Store at Hong Kong's International Finance Centre. | Source: AppleInsider staff photo


As seen in a video of the talk, made available as part of Fortune's Brainstorm Green 2014, Jackson was asked by her counterpart at Patagonia, Rick Ridgeway, to offer thoughts on how Apple's incremental advances in carbon footprint on a per-product basis are being overshadowed by an overall rise as a company.

Specifically, Ridgeway noted Apple's success in reducing the carbon footprint of its Mac business by 27 percent over the past eight years. That figure, and improvements in other products, is displaced when compared to the growth of the company's overall carbon footprint over the same time period.

The question is one that many successful companies in a wide variety of industries deal with as their business grows and more products sell. It's something Ridgeway and his team at Patagonia, which is dealing with the same issue, refers to as "the elephant in the room."

"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. And innovation," Jackson said. "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. What we're looking for is understanding the whole puzzle."

The former EPA chief went on to say that Apple is building alternative ways to deal with its overall carbon footprint, like a recycling program that collects "well over 80 percent" of product amount by weight that the company put out seven years ago. Jackson pointed out that the size of Apple's products has decreased over successive generations, suggesting a good incoming mix.



Jackson also went over Apple's ongoing clean energy initiatives, which include an expansion of renewable energy from data centers to retail stores. Green energy in retail was among the many programs and environmental impact issues detailed in Apple's wide-reaching eco-friendly campaign that debuted on Earth Day in April.

Currently, 100 percent of Apple's data centers are run off renewable energy sources, as are 94 percent of its corporate structures. Jackson said the company is now shooting for 100 percent green energy in retail, but did not elaborate on the topic.
post #2 of 20
Very cool. Seems as though Lisa Jackson's got a lot on the ball and has some great ideas on how to further Apple's industry-leading environmental initiatives. Can't wait to see what's in store.
post #3 of 20
Apple has be hiring some remarkably great people lately.

Lisa Jackson,
Angela Ahrendts
and
Nancy Dougherty

I've watched several videos of these people online and they are all clearly gifted beyond the norm. Great companies are great because of culture and gifted people, and both those factors gelling together. Apple is still great. I'd say Angela Ahrendts has been Apple's best hire in years! She is truly one of a kind. Tim was so lucky to snag her.
Edited by Ireland - 5/22/14 at 1:43am
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #4 of 20

Enjoyed this interview. I'd like to think that one day, when I finally give up my first generation iPad, some of it will come back in the latest iPhone/iPad/Mac etc. Have 3.5 kW of solar at home, love it.

Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #5 of 20
Hope we one day see Apple's pioneering efforts in this area evolve into solutions applicable to homeowners. Would be cool for more people to be able to get off the power grid.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Hope we one day see Apple's pioneering efforts in this area evolve into solutions applicable to homeowners. Would be cool for more people to be able to get off the power grid.

iTile, the revolutionary 50% efficient solar roof tile by Apple. Wirelessly sends the power back to the grid. ;-)
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


iTile, the revolutionary 50% efficient solar roof tile by Apple. Wirelessly sends the power back to the grid. ;-)

 

But knowing how the media works, Apple will get slammed for not making it 55% efficient

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

iTile, the revolutionary 50% efficient solar roof tile by Apple. Wirelessly sends the power back to the grid. ;-)

Google would immediately give out their version for free but it would turn your roof into one enormous ad for passing planes while monitoring your every word and movement inside.
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #9 of 20

CO2 is plant food and plants grow faster and stronger with more CO2 and are also more water efficient and drought tolerant.

 

Where Apple wasn't being green is when it bulldozed all those acres of trees to install solar panels.

post #10 of 20
Completely off topic.

The guy who asked the first question looked just like Flea:

Maybe they should have a bass-off - for charity.


http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/exclusive-chad-smith-will-ferrell-talk-trash-for-fallon-drum-off-20140516
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


iTile, the revolutionary 50% efficient solar roof tile by Apple. Wirelessly sends the power back to the grid. ;-)

 

What Apple really needs to do is put down Solar Freakin' Roadways for its corporate driveways, sidewalks and parking lots!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #12 of 20

Patagonia's question was kind of silly. Apple's footprint is growing as it takes over alternative PCs which are much dirtier.

 

Every Mac, iPad and iPhone that replaces a PC is a greener step, even if it shifts HP/Dell's sooty carbon foot print to a larger overall print by Apple.

 

It's like replacing cars with bikes, and then worrying that those bikes have two rubber tires that took some manufacturing & energy consumption to create them. 

post #13 of 20
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

What Apple really needs to do is put down Solar Freakin' Roadways for its corporate driveways, sidewalks and parking lots!

 

I’ve always felt that something like this was the future. Rather, that underneath the roadway would be laid a room temperature superconductor, such that power transmission is 1. underground, protected from wind, etc. 2. ubiquitous as roadways, and 3. keeping every road in the country the same temperature.

 

I first thought about road generating power via solar, but you’d need a generation material that 1. is more durable than asphalt and 2. has some actual traction. There wasn’t anything like that available.

 

I guess this could do it. Economy of scale would kill the price on it, making it feasible. Thing is, it needs to be an order of magnitude stronger than asphalt. It’s psychotic that roads need to be repaved every 10 years.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post
 

CO2 is plant food and plants grow faster and stronger with more CO2 and are also more water efficient and drought tolerant.

 

Where Apple wasn't being green is when it bulldozed all those acres of trees to install solar panels.

Trees are the easiest things to offset (and there are plenty of well-monitored and verified ways to do it). Apple does plenty of offsets. This is a non-issue.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

I’ve always felt that something like this was the future. Rather, that underneath the roadway would be laid a room temperature superconductor, such that power transmission is 1. underground, protected from wind, etc. 2. ubiquitous as roadways, and 3. keeping every road in the country the same temperature.

 

I first thought about road generating power via solar, but you’d need a generation material that 1. is more durable than asphalt and 2. has some actual traction. There wasn’t anything like that available.

 

I guess this could do it. Economy of scale would kill the price on it, making it feasible. Thing is, it needs to be an order of magnitude stronger than asphalt. It’s psychotic that roads need to be repaved every 10 years.

Actually, power generation from roads themselves ('RPG') -- since they absorb a lot of heat -- is not a new idea: here's an example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ubksiMvCvg

post #16 of 20
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
Actually, power generation from roads themselves ('RPG') -- since they absorb a lot of heat -- is not a new idea: here's an example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ubksiMvCvg

 

Ooh, look at that. I hadn’t considered that.


Oh, what about those sidewalks on springs to gather the kinetic energy of walking? Now those seem more than a little stupid to me. We don’t need to waste so much time gathering up “waste” energy when there are plenty of better power generation ideas available.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #17 of 20
mactac and others with similar concerns:
Apple did not simply "bulldoze" the trees on the site. Their Chief Arborist chose the native trees that were in good condition, boxed them up and moved them for safekeeping and eventual return to the site. Non-native trees, many of them sick or damaged because they were ill-adapted to conditions in the region and from lack of care, were destroyed. Trees around the periphery are being kept where suitable and augmented with additional trees.
Apple did however bulldoze and remove massive amounts of blacktop and environmentally unsound buildings, exposing the earth for the first time in many years.
Apple's site coverage will be 20% compared to the 80% covered by the HP campus it replaces and Apple intends to plant many more trees, including groves of the fruit trees that grew on the site when Steve Jobs was a boy. The new trees for the site are already being selected and cared for.
Total trees on the site will be about 7,000 vs. about 4,000 previously.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2011/06/09/apples-mothership-hq-before-and-after-greenspace/
Edited by cferry - 5/22/14 at 12:23pm
post #18 of 20

The question from that journalist was a good one.

Whatever Apple does, their footprint will always grow, and that's because that level of trade goes against ecology and is unsubstainable.

post #19 of 20
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post
that level of trade goes against ecology and is unsustainable.

 

Wait, what are you saying here?

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Apple has be hiring some remarkably great people lately.

Lisa Jackson,
Angela Ahrendts
and
Nancy Dougherty

I've watched several videos of these people online and they are all clearly gifted beyond the norm. Great companies are great because of culture and gifted people, and both those factors gelling together. Apple is still great. I'd say Angela Ahrendts has been Apple's best hire in years! She is truly one of a kind. Tim was so lucky to snag her.

Seeing as AA started work at Apple this month, you are presumptuous in saying that she has been their best hire in years. She certainly brings great promise, but we will find out in due course.
iPad a Dream.
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iPad a Dream.
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