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iPhone 8 has a low carbon footprint, says Apple VP

Lisa Jackson, head of Apple's environmental initiatives, says CEO Tim Cook's leadership has led to the company's products becoming more green.

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

Apple has been working to give its iPhones, iPads and MacBooks an environmentally friendly makeover. And Lisa Jackson, the company's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said this mindset comes straight from the top -- CEO Tim Cook.

"That is Tim," said Jackson, speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. "For a long time we thought Apple spoke through our products and that was enough. But we realized it's our responsibility."

Jackson, the former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, is heading Apple's initiatives to use renewable sources of energy and double down on recycling. She said these initiatives are now commonplace when conceiving new products, like the iPhone 8.

"If we care about something it does show up in our products," Jackson said. For instance, with the new iPhone "there's a little line on there that says 'low carbon process.'"

What this means is the aluminum Apple uses in the iPhone 8 is low-carbon aluminum. "It really cuts our carbon footprint for the new phone," Jackson said.

Apple released its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report last spring, in which it detailed its initiatives to reduce its impact on climate change. The company said 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.

Apple still mines for materials, like aluminum and tin, to build its electronics. Jackson 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 with more recycled materials.

"There's 100-plus elements in an iPhone," Jackson said. But now, "the solder that we use in iPhone 6 all comes from recycled tin."

Correction, 3:28 p.m. PT: The new iPhone with a low carbon process is the iPhone 8. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said it was the iPhone X.

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