Apple CEO to Global Warming Deniers: We Don’t Want Your Money

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 1 2014 12:17 PM

Apple CEO to Global Warming Deniers: We Don’t Want Your Money

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple chief Tim Cook is largely known for his mild-mannered nature. But he certainly offended some people at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting Friday when he had no qualms about telling investors where they could stick their cash if they don’t like the company’s environmental policies. As Mashable reports, “Apple has made vast improvements in its use of renewable energy since Cook took over from Steve Jobs.” But there are some who don’t like that trend, including the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank and Apple investor that thinks the company could be making more money if it stopped caring about the environment.

At the Shareholders meeting, NCPPR called on Apple to take a pledge that it would not pursue environmental initiatives unless they helped increase profit. Cook did not hesitate. Even though some environmental policies can be good for the bottom line, "we do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive," Cook said. "We want to leave the world better than we found it." And anyone who objects? “Get out of the stock.”

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The NCPPR was offended. And the news release that it issued after being shot down by Cook is a must-read. "Mr. Cook made it very clear to me that if I, or any other investor, was more concerned with return on investment than reducing carbon dioxide emissions, my investment is no longer welcome at Apple," said Justin Danhof of the NCPPR, who was apparently met “by boos and hisses from the Al gore [sic] contingency in the room” when he made his suggestions.

The NCPPR release goes on:

"Here's the bottom line: Apple is as obsessed with the theory of so-called climate change as its board member Al Gore is," said 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."
"Although the National Center's proposal did not receive the required votes to pass, millions of Apple shareholders now know that the company is involved with organizations that don't appear to have the best interest of Apple's investors in mind," said Danhof. "Too often investors look at short-term returns and are unaware of corporate policy decisions that may affect long-term financial prospects. 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?"

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.