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Apple reaffirms support for Paris climate agreement

The company wants to prove it can make money and save the planet.

Apple reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change with a senior company official telling the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, that the iPhone maker could continue to profit while being environmentally responsible.  

"The air we breathe and the planet we leave to our children doesn't belong to any one party, it doesn't belong to any one ideology -- it belongs to all of us, and governments should be the allies in our work," Lisa Jackson, Apple's head of environment, policy and social initiatives, told an arena full of tech leaders. "At Apple we supported and we continue to support the Paris climate agreement."

Web Summit 2018 - Day 1

Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson speaks during the Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Pedro Fluza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jackson, who ran the US Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, described watching the rollback of US environmental protections and safeguards that were put into place just a few years ago. In June 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris accord, which was designed to reduce carbon emissions and signed by nearly 200 countries. 

Jackson didn't mention Trump but used the opportunity to says fighting climate change wasn't bad for business.

"There is no conflict between a healthy planet and a healthy bottom line," Jackson said. "It's a false choice and one each one of us must reject."

It's unusual for Apple executives to take the stage at big European tech conferences. This month, however, two have done so in as many weeks. Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at a privacy conference in Brussels at the end of October. Cook described a world in which users have a fundamental right to privacy. 

Cook and Jackson's outspokenness underscores Apple's efforts to participate as discussions about regulation and the impact of US tech businesses in Europe heat up.

Jackson reminded the audience of Apple's achievements with regard to the environment. She cited the company's use of 100 percent clean energy at all its facilities, the recycled aluminum techniques used to build its newest MacBook, its investment in clean energy in China and its pledge to try to switch its entire supply chain on renewable energy.

"With the right dedication, with your innovation we can protect the plant and invest in our future all while running a successful business," said Jackson. "We can do well by doing good."

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