The boss of computer and software giant Apple has made a blistering response to climate denial and fossil fuel lobby groups, telling them that if they don’t like Apple’s switch to renewable energy, then they should sell their stock.
Tim Cook made the remark at the company’s annual general meeting after the National Centre of Public Policy Research, a conservative think tanks similar to Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (they share a disdain of climate science and renewables) tried to force the company to move away from clean energy.
“We object to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental standards,” NCPPAR counsel Justin Danhof wrote. “This is something [Apple] should be actively fighting, not preparing surrender.”
Apple has vastly increased its commitment to renewable energy since Cook became CEO and more than three-quarters of its data base facilities now run on solar, wind, hydroelectric or geothermal power – a three-fold increase since Cook inherited control of the company. It aims to have 100 per cent of its electricity requirements. It has also appointed Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Authority, to spearhead its sustainability program.
Cook told the NCPPR that investing in renewables make environmental sense, and anyway, there are a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive.
The normally mild-mannered Cook was visibly angry when he told the meeting: “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI (return on investment).”
“We want to leave the world better than we found it,” he said.
He then looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said: “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”
As one close observer of Apple noted, it was a clear rejection of the climate change denial, anything-for-the-sake-of-profits politics espoused by the NCPPR. It was also an unequivocal message that Apple would continue to invest in sustainable energy and related areas.
The NCPPR’s proposal was rejected by shareholders. Less than 3 per cent of votes were cast in favour of its motion. They probably decided that Apple, one of the world’s most successful companies, didn’t need the advice of a conservative think tank about how to make money. Especially a think tank driven by the narrow confines of ideology and a rejection of science.
Apple’s position presents an interesting contrast with Australia, where a government heavily influenced by the IPA is basing nearly every policy decision around so called “ROI” and little else.