In an ongoing effort to reduce the company’s environmental impact, Apple recently hired former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa Jackson as vice president of environmental initiatives. During her 25 years with the EPA, Jackson fought for more air quality regulations and campaigned for greater jurisdiction of the agency. Jackson’s expertise in the field will be welcome at Apple, which has been striving for more environmentally sustainable business practices under the leadership of Tim Cook.

In recent years, Apple has been criticized by several “green” advocacy groups for the company’s lack of supply chain transparency. Apple responded by publishing its incriminating Supplier Responsibility Progress Report for 2013. The release of the report earned Apple much acclaim for its transparency, but did raise many questions regarding the numerous violations. Over 100 of Apple’s 400 suppliers failed to recycle or properly dispose of potentially hazardous waste, and over 120 of the facilities failed to properly monitor air emissions. The list of environmental misconducts continues, and the report also acknowledges 11 factories employing 106 underage workers. Releasing the report was a step in the right direction for the company, but the violations still need to be addressed.

Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to confront the company’s environmental impacts. Since taking over for Steve Jobs in 2011, Cook has propelled Apple to address the company’s environmental effects. Environmental issues have received greater importance within the company in recent years, and Cook has made new commitments to work with suppliers to reduce their environmental impacts. Apple’s new supply chain transparency is only part of the commitment the company has made. Apple facilities, some of which were previously run on coal power, now run on about 75% renewable energy, and the company has set a goal of procuring 100% of its energy from clean energy sources.

Jackson’s experience combating dirty energy and toxic waste will add to the environmental movement happening at Apple. A chemical engineer by trade, she is well versed in these causes of global warming. But, her job description includes only environmental impacts, and includes nothing about the social impacts in the supply chain. The addition of Jackson should reduce Apple’s use of fossil fuels and hazardous chemicals, but it still remains unseen if (and how much) the former EPA Administrator will affect Apple’s social policy.

Do you think Apple made a good move in hiring Jackson? Do you think she will add value to the company’s holistic sustainability efforts, and not just the environmental impacts? Let us know!

–Patrick Dowling

Original news credited to Business Green and Triple Pundit