Ms Jackson, who is appearing at the Herald’s Sustainability Summit next week said the iPhone-maker would now focus on ensuring its external suppliers minimise their emissions, in part through knowledge transfer.
“It’s really about our supply chain which is worldwide…because if we want to be carbon neutral we also need our customers to use clean energy when they charge our devices,” she said. “You’re talking about companies, some big, some small, some medium. Their primary business is not getting clean energy for their company, their primary business is to manufacture, produce, design. And so what we’re able to do is bring in engineers who say ‘Hey, let me show you how we did it at Apple’.”
Ms Jackson was the head of the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama and said while multinationals such as Apple were important in driving environmental change, governments also needed to play their part.
“We cannot solve climate change or any environmental problem on our own because business can lead, but without the benefit of government setting the standards we’re not going to be anywhere,” she said. “I think more and more what we’re seeing especially from some of our customers is they expect Apple to do the right thing and more than that to show others what’s possible.”
She said companies do not need to choose between running a successful business and taking care of the planet.
“We’re starting to see companies that invest in sustainability having higher returns, it’s certainly something we see at Apple,” she said. “I definitely think that more and more businesses are realising that, looking at sustainability, looking at the environment as part of how they assess their company’s health is a really smart idea. It’s not just smart in the future, it’s smart right now.”
Ms Jackson is speaking at the SMH Sustainability Summit on September 7.