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​Apple wins Al Gore's praise on environmentalism

The former vice president chats with Apple's Lisa Jackson about climate change, renewable energy and President Donald Trump.

Former US Vice President Al Gore says Apple is one of the most environmentally responsible companies in the world.
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

Apple has pledged to be a greener company over the past few years.

It's using renewable sources of energy and has doubled down on recycling its products. The company also hired former US Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson in 2013 to head its environmental initiatives.

These efforts have won the praise from the former US vice president and climate change activist Al Gore, who also sits on Apple's board of directors.

"Apple is one of the most successful and valuable companies in the history of the world," Gore said. "And one of a handful of the most environmentally responsible and committed companies in the world."

Gore spoke with Jackson at the company's San Francisco retail store on Wednesday evening. The two discussed renewable energy, President Donald Trump and climate change.

"Why do we do this work?" asked Jackson. "I hope you know it's not about bragging rights. The reason we do it is we know climate change is real."

Apple released its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report on Wednesday, which detailed its initiatives to reduce its impact on climate change. The company says it now powers 96 percent of its operations around the world with 100 percent renewable energy, like solar, hydro and wind power. It's also using 100 percent recycled paper in its packaging. But the company acknowledges more can be done.

It still mines for materials, like aluminum and tin, to build its electronics. In its report, Apple said it's now taking steps to end its reliance on mining and move toward a closed-loop supply chain in which it'll build new products only with recycled materials.

"I am so proud of Tim Cook's leadership on Apple," Gore said, speaking of the CEO's environmental work. "He lives and breathes it. I know it sounds corny, but it's real."

As for Gore's views on Trump? He's disappointed by some of the measures being discussed by the president's cabinet, like cutbacks for the EPA and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord.

"But we're less than 100 days into this experiment," Gore said. "We still don't know how it's going to shake out."

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