Apple’s Cook Slaps Down Anti-Environment Group at Shareholder Meeting

Apple Tim Cook iPhone 5Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook took an uncompromising stand against a conservative foundation that was pushing the California-based company to stop any possibly unprofitable environmental initiatives at the company’s recent annual shareholders meeting. As noted in Apple’s proxy statement filing, the National Center for Public Policy Research was advocating a proposal that would have required Apple to disclose its membership in or payments made to “any trade association or organization that educates members about sustainability practices, assists members in the development of sustainability practices, encourages members to engage in sustainability practices or requires members to undertake sustainability actions.”

As reported by MacObserver, Cook had a tense exchange with an NCPPR representative during a question-and-answer session at Friday’s meeting. After NCPPR representative Justin Danhof questioned Cook about the profitability of Apple’s environmental policies, the shareholder asked if Cook would be willing to commit to only implementing policies that would benefit the company’s bottom line. According to NCPPR’s own version of the exchange, Danhof’s question was “greeted by boos and hisses.”

“We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive,” responded Cook according to Mashable. “We want to leave the world better than we found it.” Cook also noted that there are many policy areas in which Apple does not focus exclusively on its return on investment (ROI).  “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI,” said Cook according to MacObserver. Multiple media outlets have reported that Cook appeared to be visibly angry at the NCPPR representative’s line of questioning. “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock,” advised Cook per MacObserver.

NCPPR representative Danhof later criticized Cook’s response to his questions via a press release. “Here’s the bottom line: Apple is as obsessed with the theory of so-called climate change as its board member Al Gore is,” wrote Danhof. “The company’s CEO fervently wants investors who care more about return on investments than reducing CO2 emissions to no longer invest in Apple. Maybe they should take him up on that advice.”

According to Apple’s renewable energy page, the company’s goal is to “power every facility at Apple entirely with energy from renewable sources — solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal.” Apple has already demonstrated its commitment to this goal by achieving 100 percent renewable energy usage at all of its data centers. According to Apple, renewable energy usage at its worldwide corporate facilities is currently at 75 percent.

As noted by Macnn, less than 3 percent of shareholders voted in favor of NCPPR’s proposal. In the company’s statement of opposition to the NCPPR proposal, Apple noted that “The Company believes the report that would be required by Proposal No. 9 would be potentially misleading to the shareholders and the public because it would not necessarily reflect the Company’s views.”

Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.


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