Apple CEO Stands Up to Climate Deniers

It looks like the National Center for Public Policy Research – a conservative, climate-denying "free market activist" think tank is making the rounds.

Last week, we reported that General Electric succumbed to their activism, even changing their Corporate Social Responsibility policy. Under its revised policy, the company can never initiate a project solely for the purpose of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. All company initiatives must be about making profits (of course, we know that increasing energy efficiency etc is profitable).

Now, the group wants Apple to do the same, but this time, CEO Tim Cook pushed back hard.

At Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, asked if running on 100% renewable energy is profitable and asked Cook if he would commit right then and there to doing only those things that are profitable, reports MAC Observer.

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."

"What ensued was the only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry," says Bryan Chaffin of MAC Observer. 

Known for caution and making incremental improvements, in this case Cook’s response was blistering, reports Chris Taylor at Mashable. Environmental efforts also make economic sense, he said. Even so, "we do a lot of things for reasons that aren’t based on a profit motive. We want to leave the world better than we found it."

"Anyone who has a problem with that should sell their Apple shares, get out of the stock," Cook bristled.  "If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."

"When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI," Cook lashed back. 

Since Tim Cook took over as CEO, Apple has been quickly and significantly ramping up renewable energy. Last March, Apple announced that all its data centers and corporate headquarters now run completely on renewable energy, providing 75% of Apple’s electricity, and is on track for 100%. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson now oversees Apple’s environmental initiatives.

Apple Renewable Energy

The National Center for Public Policy Research submitted a shareholder resolution which was voted down almost unanimously – only 2.9% voted in favor. It would have forced Apple to disclose the cost of its sustainability programs, how much it’s spending to shrink its climate footprint. It also asked for transparency about Apple’s participation in "certain trade associations and business organizations promoting the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability."

A few months ago, Apple announced its new Arizona factory would run completely on solar and geothermal – the first US manufacturing plant to do so.

And the company got approval for its new spaceship-shaped campus in California, which will be crowned with 5 megawatts of solar:

Apple Spaceship Design

Not surprisingly, the National Center for Public Policy Research is among the 23 conservative groups that called for Congress to end to the Wind Production Tax Credit

Without mentioning tax credits for fossil fuels, their letter said, This "misguided handout" must end.

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