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.