Fortune today published an interview Adam Lashinsky held with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this year. Their conversation centers on Apple’s attempts at societal contribution, covering topics like health, education, the environment, and more.
In the area of health, Cook acknowledged that while many of the company’s health initiatives are not directly profitable in any way, he does understand that from a financial standpoint health care is a key area for Apple to invest in. And they are investing. He says:
There’s much more in the health area. There’s a lot of stuff that I can’t tell you about that we’re working on, some of which it’s clear there’s a commercial business there. And some of it it’s clear there’s not. And some of it it‘s not clear. I do think it’s a big area for Apple’s future.
One other interesting piece from the interview surrounds Apple’s lack of interest in setting up a company foundation, breaking from the pattern of many other large corporations. Cook explained his reasoning:
When a company sets up a foundation, there is a risk, in my judgment, of the foundation becoming this other thing that is not connected to the company. It has a separate board of directors. They make reasonably independent decisions sometimes. It becomes a separate thing. I don’t want that for Apple. I want everybody involved...If we had a foundation, my fear was it becomes something that 10 or 12 or 20 or 50 people do. And all of a sudden for the 120,000, it’s just this separate thing out there. People work here to change the world. So I think that should be integral to what the company does. Not peripheral in a foundation.
It’s possible we’ll see announcements related to Apple’s work in the areas of health and the environment at its September 12 keynote event, with the former tied to Apple Watch announcements and the latter to the creation of Apple Park, where the event will be held.
Special guest Lisa Jackson — Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives — joins the show for an Earth Day discussion of the state of Apple’s environmental efforts: climate change, renewable energy, responsible packaging, and Apple’s new goal to create a “closed-loop supply chain”, wherein the company’s products would be manufactured entirely from recycled materials.
I enjoyed John Gruber's interview with Apple's Lisa Jackson on the company's approach to various environmental initiatives. It's a fascinating, eye-opening discussion. Take an hour of your time to listen to it. It's obvious that some incredibly smart and talented people are working on these issues at Apple.
Arielle Duhaime-Ross writes for VICE News about an ambitious new goal for Apple:
Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products.
That’s about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, “to stop mining the earth altogether.”
The announcement, part of Apple’s 2017 Environment Responsibility Report released Wednesday, will commit the company to making devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, and tungsten. But there’s one hiccup: Apple doesn’t know exactly how it’s going to make that happen.
Setting ambitious goals seems to be part of Apple's culture, but speaking about such goals publicly before the team has reached them – or before they even know how to reach them – is very different from the company's norm.
Aside from this announcement, the piece also features interesting details about some of Apple's other environmental efforts. One of the stranger tidbits is that Apple soaks certain products in synthetic human sweat to test their durability over time – a fact also highlighted in the company's new environmental videos.
Four new videos were released by Apple this morning, each focusing on a different aspect of the company's environmental efforts. The videos feature different Apple employees who have roles focused on the environment, and they all share a similar artistic style and comedic tone.
One video shares how Apple creates artificial sweat to test the durability of its Apple Watch bands, another discusses how Apple Park was designed with a high level of "breathability," a third covers Apple's ambitions to produce zero waste company-wide, and the final video is about how solar farms can co-exist with traditional farming.
Video embeds after the break.