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Apple expands renewable energy to retail stores, 120 US outlets get green power

Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store is now powered entirely by renewable energy.

Nearly half of Apple's 254 retail stores in the U.S. — including flagship locations in Palo Alto, Chicago, and New York — are said to be powered entirely by energy from renewable sources, part of the company's plan to cast a wider net with its environmental initiatives.

News of Apple's retail milestone comes on the heels of a Greenpeace report that named the company "the most innovative and most aggressive" in Silicon Valley on the subject of environmental concerns. The disclosure was made as part of a Wired interview with Apple environmental chief Lisa Jackson.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has reportedly made expanding its green energy footprint to more retail outlets a top priority in 2014, though it is not likely to be as simple as its widely-publicized datacenter efforts. Most of Apple's retail stores are located in shopping malls, so the company must work alongside utility providers who do not always offer green options.

Apple does have a history of success in such negotiations, however. Lobbying efforts from Apple, Google, and Facebook are credited with forcing major U.S. utility Duke Energy to adopt a clean energy purchase program from which Apple draws power for its Maiden, N.C. datacenter.

Alongside its retail and datacenter moves, Apple is also making efforts to revamp its supply chain. The company has reevaluated the way it accounts for the emissions generated by the mining of aluminum, for instance, and Jackson said that the iPhone maker is looking at a number of options for advancement but is careful not to harm the consumer experience.

"When I was at EPA I always told people that if you're looking for an administrator who camps out and only eats what she kills, you've got the wrong girl," Jackson said. "I grew up in the city. I don't sleep outside. I wear makeup. So I'm not one of those people who believe that environment should feel like a sacrifice. I do feel that we should challenge the most innovative company— which I think Apple is-to do everything it wants, but do it better. To give you all the data you could possibly want, but none of the emissions that go along with it."