The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a “self-described” conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., happens to be a shareholder in Apple. NCPPR has not been happy with Apple’s environmental initiatives. According to Chris Taylor (Mashable), Apple has made great improvements “in its use of renewable energy” since Tim Cook took over as CEO. Taylor said, “More than three-quarters of the company’s facilities worldwide, including all of its data centers and its Cupertino HQ, now run on solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power, up from about a quarter under Jobs.” Just last year, Cook hired former EPA head Lisa Jackson “to lead the company’s sustainability efforts.”
In a written statement prior to Apple’s recent annual shareholder meeting, NCPPR’s general counsel Justin Danhof said, “We object to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental standards. This is something [Apple] should be actively fighting, not preparing surrender.” According to Fortune, NCPPR “was pushing a shareholder proposal that would have required Apple to disclose the costs of its sustainability programs and to be more transparent about its participation in ‘certain trade associations and business organizations promoting the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability’…” Bryan Chaffin (The Mac Observer) said that the NCPPR proposal was “rooted in the premise that humanity plays no role in climate change.” He also noted that there was language in the proposal that “advanced the idea that profits should be the only thing corporations consider.” During the shareholder meeting, NCPPR urged Apple CEO Tim Cook and the board “to pledge that Apple wouldn’t pursue any more environmental initiatives that didn’t improve its bottom line.”
According to Chris Taylor, Cook’s response to NCPPR was “blistering.” Bryan Chaffin said it was the only time he could recall that Cook appeared angry. Chaffin said Cook “categorically rejected the worldview behind the NCPPR’s advocacy.” The Apple CEO insisted that the company’s environmental efforts make “economic sense.” He added that Apple does “a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive.” Cook said that there were many things the company does “because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues.” Cook said that when the company works on “making devices accessible by the blind,” he doesn’t “consider the bloody ROI.”
Cook continued, “We want to leave the world better than we found it.” But Cook didn’t stop there. He suggested that anyone who had a problem with what the company was doing should sell their shares in Apple. “Get out of the stock,” he said.
Evidently, NCPPR was not too pleased with Cook’s response to its objections, advice, and shareholder proposal. Following the meeting, the think tank released a statement saying, “After today’s meeting, investors can be certain that Apple is wasting untold amounts of shareholder money to combat so-called climate change. The only remaining question is: how much?”
Good question. How much should companies/corporations invest in looking for ways to combat climate change?
And imagine this: The CEO of a big company who is concerned not only about the “bottom line”—but who also cares about doing things that are “right” and “just and that will leave the world a better place. If only his condition was infectious.
NOTE: NCPPR’s proposal was rejected by Apple’s shareholders. It received just 2.95 percent of the vote.
~ Submitted by Elaine Magliaro
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Right Wing Think Tank Wants Apple to Disclose Sustainability Costs (The Mac Observer)