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Apple disagrees with Trump administration on benefit of environmentalism

Apple does not agree with the Trump Administration on a number of issues, including tariffs and immigration....

Posted: Sep 14, 2018 9:56 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2018 9:56 AM

Apple does not agree with the Trump Administration on a number of issues, including tariffs and immigration. Now the iPhone maker is speaking out about the dangers of rolling back environmental protections.

Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, gave a speech that covered what the company considers the dangers of the federal government's environmental policies at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on Thursday.

"Just a few weeks ago, the administration announced that they plan to roll back nationwide clean energy standards. The new plan risks drastically increasing emissions over the next 20 years," said Jackson.

It was the latest move by the federal government to roll back environmental protections and safeguards enacted under the Obama administration.

The Trump administration thinks the regulatory costs of the rules stifle businesses.

Jackson, who was the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for four years under President Barack Obama, said those policies were already demonstrating real results.

"The underlying message behind this strategy seems to be that protecting the environment is bad for business," she said. "I'm here today to tell you — unequivocally — that there is no conflict between a healthy planet and a healthy bottom line. It's a false choice, and it's one we must reject."

Relaxing environmental regulations will actually have a negative effect on the economy, according to Jackson. She said it could create costly public health issues and environmental disasters. It could also hurt the fast growing green energy industry, she said.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world. It publicly supported the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the Clean Power Plan -- which aimed to limit emissions from power plants and encourage alternative energy production. In April, the company announced that its own facilities are powered by 100% renewable energy, and it is pushing more of its suppliers to do the same.

However, the company's products also take a large toll on the environment. Phones and other devices require mined metals, like cobalt and tin, which can harm the environment. Discarded devices contribute to e-waste, which is expected to reach 57 million tons by 2021, according to the United Nations University. Only 20% of that waste is currently recycled, according to a report from the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union.

Smartphone users typically upgrade their devices every two to three years. Apple has sold more than a billion iPhones over the past ten years.

The company has taken a number of steps to minimize its impact on the environment. On Wednesday, during Apple's iPhone XS announcement, Jackson took the stage to tout the company's green credentials. The new phones will include logic boards made from 100% recycled tin, the speaker made with 35% recycled plastic, and the glass on the front of the devices uses some bio-based plastic.

On Thursday, she announced a new Apple initiative. The company is helping establish an 11,000 hectare mangrove forest project in Colombia, which Apple hopes will reduce carbon emissions by 17,000 metric tonnes in the first two years. That's the same amount of emissions that would be created by the cars that drive around the world to update Apple Maps over the next 10 years.

"We're proud that we've taken many of these steps toward environmental sustainability during some of the most successful quarters in Apple's history. These efforts are a complement to — and a component of — our strategic success. And we want to help our peers in the corporate world to do the same," said Jackson.

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