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Apple is not passing on costs of climate goals to consumers, exec says

:Apple does not charge more to account for its carbon reduction efforts on its widely-used consumer technology products, its top executive for sustainability said on Wednesday at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York.

“We don’t factor in a premium to take care of the work that we’re doing,” Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson said in an interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni.

Apple, with a roughly $2.8 trillion market capitalization, which makes it the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, wants to show a way forward that can apply to other businesses, Jackson said. Apple CEO Tim Cook has set the tone, according to Jackson.

“I want to do it in a way that other businesses can say this isn’t because they’re Apple,” said Jackson, referring to Cook’s direction. “It’s because they understand how to make clean energy and (recyclable) materials work in the manufacturing chains and drive emissions down.”

Apple has been aggressive among large U.S. companies in advocating for stricter public environmental policies. In September it endorsed legislation in California to require companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions, even though trade groups in the state opposed the idea that recently became law.

Under Jackson, formerly the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Apple was also an early backer of federal rules to require companies to disclose emissions from their value chains.

Many other executives from large U.S. companies oppose the idea, which has not been finalized by securities regulators. Critics say it is easier for a tech company like Apple to meet such goals than it would be for corporations in more energy-intensive industries.

In her remarks on Wednesday, Jackson nodded at the challenges of figuring out and reporting supply-chain details. “Even making the windmills to generate renewable energy has a carbon footprint, and so you have to account for that,” she said.

For a recent model of the Apple Watch, the company has reduced 78 per cent of its carbon footprint but not some 8 kilograms of emissions for each device. “We just right now don’t have the ability to take care” of that, which includes the environmental impact of transportation and logistics.

Jackson also said Apple is working with smaller processing companies to recycle rare earths and other materials. “That’s somewhere Apple can invest and then help to scale and bring (other) businesses along,” she said.

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin and Kenneth Li in New York and Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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