Hearing an Apple executive talk about their work in a relaxed setting is pretty unusual stuff, but that’s what happened earlier this week when Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environmental Initiatives, spoke as part of Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference.
The 16-minute conversation, with Fortune Senior Editor (and former Apple author) Adam Lashinsky, touches on various topics related to Apple’s desire to go green — including some potentially revolutionary plans for its 400+ chain of retail stores.
Jackson says that while Apple has a done a commendable job reducing its carbon footprint over the past several years, there’s still a way to go. She notes that the company’s next major challenge is getting Apple Stores around the world to run on 100% renewable energy:
“It’s a lot harder to do the retail stores. They’re all over the place. In some places they’re in a mall … literally a shopping center. In some cases, they’re standalone stores. But where they are in the grid and where they are in the world, the access to clean energy may or may not be a trivial exercise.”
Jackson talks about Apple’s data centers, which are currently running on 100% renewable energy (largely thanks to solar and fuel cell farms), while also pointing out that 94% of all its corporate facilities are renewable as well.
The video can be seen below:
Apple hired Jackson serve as its top environmental adviser in May 2013. In her previous role she was Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
That Apple would choose to make its VP of Environmental Initiatives available to Fortune is not entirely surprising. Sustainability has been a big theme of Tim Cook’s quest to make Apple a “force for good” in the world, and he is clearly proud of Apple’s corporate turnaround in this area — especially since the company scored last in a Greenpeace report about green-friendly data centers just a few years ago. Apple recently opened its doors to NBC to shine a light on its pioneering use of renewable energy.
Apple has also made the decision for its forthcoming $5.5 billion Cupertino “spaceship” headquarters (currently in construction) to have 70% of its power provided on-site by photovoltaics and fuel cells, with the remaining power covered by sustainable “green sources” in California.
More recently, Apple highlighted its commitment to the environment in a TV ad called “Better” narrated by Cook.