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Apple board urges shareholders to reject eco proposals

updated 11:00 pm EST, Tue January 12, 2010

Proposals spearheaded by activist group As You Sow

Apple's board is urging its shareholders to reject several proposals focused on environmental efforts. The company's annual proxy statement includes the board's recommendations for votes on seven proposals. Proposal No. 6, which will be submitted by John Powers from the activist group As You Sow, seeks to establish a sustainability report detailing information such as greenhouse gas emissions and toxic materials, while addressing employee and product safety.

"Globally, over 2,700 companies issued reports on sustainability issues in 2007," the proposal reads. "[Dell, IBM, and HP] have provided detailed assessments of greenhouse gas emission exposure and made reduction commitments. Apple, however, lags behind global industry peers on sustainability reporting."

As You Sow admits that Apple has released product-specific information regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The activist group is pushing the company to expand the reports to include aggregate emission estimates, along with specific commitments regarding greenhouse gas reduction.

In its voting recommendation, Apple defends its latest environmental efforts and disclosures which are publicly available from www.apple.com/environment/. The company also cites improvements to energy efficiency in its products, along with continuing audits of its suppliers to check compliance with its code of conduct.

"The Board believes that the level of transparency described above far exceeds that of other companies in the industry," the board said in the proxy statement. "The Company is already substantially fulfilling--and in many respects exceeding--the request for information in Proposal No. 6."

A similar proposal, No. 7, seeks to establish a board committee on sustainability. The committee would monitor subjects such as natural resource limitations, energy use, waste disposal, and climate change.

As with Proposal No. 6, Apple's board urges shareholders to reject No. 7. The company claims its current management team is already authorized to make decisions relating to environmental, health and safety issues.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. MeandmyMac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -19

    I'm a little surprised...

    Apple beat everyone to the punch by providing health insurance to all employees before the idiots in government are going to shove that requirement down our throat with this stupid health care bill.

    Now is Apple's chance to once again beat the government to the punch by allowing Amendment 6 to PASS before the idiots in government pass Cap and Trade and make Algore a gazillionaire while bankrupting businesses and causing the economy to go from recession to depression!

    Bad Apple for suggesting we not do more to help the environment! Haven't you heard Algore's Global Warming concerns?!

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +12

    Yay board!

    They are doing their jobs, which is to provide value to the shareholders. There is no added value for either Prop 6 or 7, as they have said, they are already doing a lot. These activist groups are looking for a stamp of legitimacy, where there proposals benefit no-one but their own egos.

    Apple is already setting a high bar on responsibility, they don't need these interlopers to force them to do more so that "As You Sow" gets to earn political greenie points from this stunt. If these pass, it is a small jump to compelling Apple to participate in Carbon Offset scams, which will slowly bleed the cash reserves with no tangible benefit to the bottom line, or the products Apple produces.

    -- Len

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +12

    @MeandmyLobotomy

    Rule #1 of climate change denialism:

    When you have nothing intelligent to say, repeat "AL GORE!" as often as possible.

  1. dechamp

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Been there, done that.

    Apple has shown in the past that it is a responsible manufacturer with a great track record with designs and shipping containers and other aspects of green, without 'guidance' from outside uninformed, untrained 'experts'. Their products are already world class examples that other computer builders should study.

    I feel that Apple will continue to make decisions that will improve their products energy requirements while at the same time, leading the industry with innovation. Their bottom line has always benefited from their energy management decisions.

    Past performance is a perfect predictor and Apple should not allow outside policy decisions like this to happen.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Server farms

    I guess one thing that distinguishes Apple from Dell is that it's not only a product company, but has some pretty vast data centers. (What's the estimate on a Google search - about the same as boiling a kettle).

    On the wider point, as to whether 'green' is anti-competitive - so far, the green initiatives Apple has taken, don't seem to have harmed them (smaller packaging = lower transport costs). The same also seems to be the case with Germany (ahead of it's own targets, and the world's second largest exporter, behind China).

    Personally, I think high energy prices are likely to do more than any amount of policy in terms of making businesses focus on energy use.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Why NOT Make it Quantifiable?

    It would be a positive step if Apple produced a sustainability report. If nothing else, if it complies with some standard, Apple can point to it and say "see, we're already beating it".

    Apple could produce some snazzy graphics, like a software featuritis list, comparing theirs with their competitors' compliance.

    Making an effort to reduce one's carbon footprint is a good thing. It's a health issue as much as it is an economic (developing, producing and exporting next-gen energy saving/producing technologies), security (no need to invade other countries, set up puppet dictators, skim $$$ off the top and piss off the world, creating need for more "protection") and environmental issue. (How's that, FauxNewzzzers?)

    Comment buried. Show
  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -10

    Rule #1 & ff. of Antrhopogenic CC theory supporter

    *Label the issue as "settled."
    *Call any conflicting current conditions "anomalies."
    *Re-brand your topic's name to be broader, ie. warming to "climate change."
    *Suppress any conflicting results, ie. exclude reports from "peer reviewed" journals and exclude data from your own models, a la CRU of East Anglia.
    *Denounce opponents in unflattering terms, attack the people instead of the idea.
    *And most importantly (and this could cover the bases for all other rules)... Do NOT follow the scientific method. Do not actively seek to disprove your own theory ie. black swan, etc. Do not exclude political backing as a means for your theory's relevance. Do not allow others to question you.

    On that happy note, it's good to see the truly vested interests using some common sense. Paying for testing of materials costs enough when it's just testing for applicability and integrity. Paying extra costs, and passing them along to buyers, all to a relatively small number of validate activist's sensibilities is ridiculous.

    Perhaps there should be a call to see if these "greenhouse gases" in question actually cause the greenhouse effect.

  1. HogKiller

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    @JeffHarris

    Now, just why, would they want to add hundreds of thousands of dollars of NON-PRODUCTIVE labor to their overhead just so a few misbegotten folks can feel good? Just think of a few minor little things sir. We're heading into a NORMAL cooling cycle of 30 years. the Increased CO2, which in no way is a 'green house' gas, as actually spurred plant growth. Apple is already ahead of the curve to reduce waste, which as has been pointed out, reduces cost and increases profit. As a share holder I like profit. Profit is good.

  1. Moxy Vote

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Moxy Vote = make informed decisions on shareholder

    Moxy Vote launched a new tool at www.moxyvote.com that allows retail investors to make informed decisions on their proxy votes. Two advocates on Moxy Vote are supporting the sustainability resolutions on Apple. Details at: http://www.moxyvote.com/ballots/aapl

    Moxy Vote is cool because investors can just link their brokerage accounts to the site and align them with like-minded advocates. That way, shares will be voted automatically.

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