According to news reports, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson will be joining Apple Inc. as vice president of environmental initiatives. As part of her new position, Jackson will coordinate many of the company’s environmental practices.
Jackson hailed Apple’s environmental record stating that “Apple has shown how innovation can drive real progress by removing toxics from its products, incorporating renewable energy in its data center plans, and continually raising the bar for energy efficiency in the electronics industry.”
Interestingly, Jackson will now for the first time have to represent the interests of a company which heavily relies on critical minerals for the manufacturing of its hi-tech products, an area where Apple emphasizes its commitment to “supplier responsibility.”
Jackson may not be known as a strong proponent of domestic resource development to date, but one thing is clear: in order to reconcile the company’s mineral resource needs and responsible sourcing goals as well as environmental policies, an emphasis on sustainable domestic resource development is crucial.
As American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty has previously pointed out:
Mining projects developed here in the U.S. are, on balance, likely to be conducted with higher standards of safety, against stronger environmental strictures, with better benefits to the surrounding communities than projects in many parts of the world.
With her background as a close ally of President Obama’s during her tenure at EPA, there is an opportunity for Jackson to use her clout and experience to help push forward President Obama’s Material Genome Initiative – a collaboration between government, private-sector, and academia “to discover and deploy new cutting-edge materials faster and cheaper than ever before,” born from the realization that many critical minerals which characterize “the industrial cutting-edge are not as naturally abundant or easy to access as their predecessors.”
At a time when manufacturing could use a boost, an increased focus on domestic resource development would be just what the doctor ordered. Or in other words:
If we’re serious about reviving American manufacturing, if we’re serious about restoring American jobs, if we’re serious about making sure the high-tech and green-tech dreams of the future are Made In America, if we’re serious about safeguarding our national security – we need a new resource development strategy. And we need it now.