Apple CEO Tim Cook: Tech Companies Must Get Serious on Climate Change

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Apple CEO Tim Cook was among the major figures that helped open the Climate Week NYC festivities Monday, and his message was clear: Tech companies have to get serious about environmental and climate issues or face real consequences. In an interview with Christiana Figueres of the U.N.'s climate change effort, Cook said there doesn't have to be a trade-off between the economy and the environment. "The truth is that you can't compromise," he continued. "If you innovate and you set the bar high, you will find a way to do both." For evidence, he cited the way Apple has managed its supply chain partners in China, pushing to have them comply with stringent environmental and labor regulations.

"We look at the factory, we look at our facilities, literally everything. It's not esoteric and theory, it's real work and real projects. If you look at our new headquarters, I believe it'll be the greenest building on the planet." Cook's remarks joined others by Prince Charles, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Sir Richard Branson and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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—Devin Coldewey