Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is headed to the private sector to work for one of the most recognizable brands in the U.S. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday night that the company had brought Jackson on to serve as vice president for environmental initiatives.
Jackson, who stepped down from her post as head of the EPA in February after four years, was the first African American ever to head the agency. She confirmed the news to Politico late Tuesday.
“I’m incredibly impressed with Apple’s commitment to the environment and I’m thrilled to be joining the team,” Jackson told Politico via email.
The news was broken Tuesday night by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the website All Things D’s D11 tech conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., according to the news outlet.
“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,” Jackson continued. “I look forward to helping support and promote these efforts, as well as leading new ones in the future aimed at protecting the environment.”
Apple made waves in October 2009 — when Jackson was head of EPA — when it quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the group’s opposition to mandating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Apple had worked to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions “because we believe it is the right thing to do,” Apple wrote in its resignation letter. “For those companies who cannot or will not do the same, Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort.”
Other organizations, including the utility Exelon and Pacific Gas & Electric, also left the Chamber over climate disagreements.
Since leaving the Chamber Apple has significantly increased its renewable energy use, according to the company. In 2012 it reportedly got three-quarters of its power from renewable sources, up from 35 percent in 2010.
Despite recent waves over the company’s efforts to skirt U.S. tax collections by using offshore tax havens, Apple has drawn praise for its work to lower or cut completely toxic substances like lead and mercury from its products, as well as for energy efficiency and tech recycling.