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Apple's environmental chief to now head all social policy programs

In a sign that Apple is aiming to expand its voice on social issues, Lisa Jackson is promoted to the company's first vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.

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Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is now Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. Apple

Apple has promoted its environmental chief to a more encompassing position. Lisa Jackson, who is the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is now Apple's first vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.

Company CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees saying that Apple has worked to be an industry leader on environmental issues and now he wants to expand that work to human rights, education and other social issues.

"We've dedicated ourselves to leaving the world better than we found it," Cook wrote in the memo, which was confirmed by CNET. "Lisa will apply her passion and her unique skill set to integrate teams across Apple and make our impact even greater."

The move shows Apple's increasing tendency toward being a tech company focused on the greater good. Since Cook took over the company in 2011, he has been expanding Apple's voice on issues like labor rights, equal pay and the environment. In October 2014, Cook announced he was gay, and in March of this year, he wrote a 600-word opinion piece for The Washington Post that addressed discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Cook has also insisted that tech companies better respect users' privacy. During a speech earlier this month, Cook said, "We at Apple reject the idea that our customers should have to make tradeoffs between privacy and security... We can, and we must provide both in equal measure. We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy."

Jackson was initially hired as Apple's environmental and sustainability chief in May 2013. In this role she coordinated the company's environmental practices. In her new role, Jackson will work with public schools and on public policy issues like clean energy and equality, Cook said in his memo. Jackson will also manage Apple's international Government Affairs program.

"Lisa Jackson joined us two years ago and we could not have come this far without her leadership on environmental initiatives across our company," Cook wrote. But, "Lisa will be the first to tell you, we have a long way to go and a lot to learn."