Lisa Jackson is heading up Apple’s roadmap to zero climate by 2030

Reporting the most profitable quarter for any corporation ever, Apple has plotted a roadmap to achieving climate neutrality by 2030. Lisa Jackson is the driving force behind that mission.

Growing up in 70s New Orleans, a US hotspot for petrochemical facilities, Lisa Jackson witnessed first-hand the adverse effects of pollution and the disparity it brings to different communities. Today, as the Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives at Apple, she is determined to push bold new strategies for carbon neutrality and environmental justice.

Having reported the most profitable quarter of any corporation ever last January – a cool $22bn – it’s safe to assert that having Apple join the fight against climate change is a pretty huge deal. First on the agenda for the tech mecca, is ensuring that all internal operations are completely carbon neutral by 2030, and that all suppliers are using renewable energy only. Apple currently offsets carbon emissions it ‘can’t avoid’ through investing in nature-based solutions like mangrove restoration and regenerative agriculture, insisting that the energy we use to charge our Apple devices is being taking into account and will be balanced by weighty investment into carbon clean-up initiatives in the coming years.

What makes Jackson unique in her approach to tackling environmental issues is her emphasis on people and politics. Throughout a four-year term as President Obama’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where she fought for clean-energy solutions often speaking out against America’s dependency on oil, Jackson found that her greatest satisfaction came from making a mark in the ‘racial equity and justice space,’ as opposed to the usual corporate emphasis on supply chains and sales.

In an interview with Vogue, she stated: ‘communities are being picked out economically or racially to deal with pollution and dirty water. You can’t have justice if you don’t have environmental justice’. It’s this gripe that propelled her to such a prominent role today. Attracted by Apple’s ‘history of crazy,’ Jackson found a place where her ambition would finally be taken seriously and backed with major financial firepower. Now, after seven years in the making, her proposal of going carbon neutral is fully supported by Apple.

As the only Black member of Apple’s executive team – and, to date, still the only black person to have held the position of EPA admin in the Whitehouse – Jackson feels a responsibility to pay particular care to black-owned businesses combatting climate change. ‘We’re bringing them some help by giving them the benefit of something Apple really knows, which is how to grow and scale from a supply chain perspective and a sales perspective.’ In terms of specific plans or beneficiaries, Jackson is keeping her shtum at the moment, but reveals that she’s very much ‘looking forward to telling the story of where Apple is making its mark in the racial justice space.’

As Jackson was quick to point out, there’s a newfound willingness from brands to take a moral stance on widespread issues like climate change and systemic racism, and to alter their own practices to become part of the solution. It’s a rare thing that a multiconglomorate like Apple comes along and joins the fight though. The chances of winning have just become a whole lot greater.

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