From The Independent:
He leads a company that some would consider the epitome of ruthless global capitalism. But Apple chief executive Tim Cook has shocked some in the US with an impassioned attack on the single-minded pursuit of profit – and a direct appeal to climate-change deniers not to buy shares in his firm.
Eyewitnesses said Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as boss of the technology giant in 2011, was visibly angry as he took on a group of right-wing investors during a question-and-answer session at a shareholders’ meeting.
And what were these (presumably) egregious and inappropriate questions levied by the “right-wing investors”?
Responding to calls from the National Centre for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a conservative think tank and investor, for Apple to refrain from putting money in green energy projects that were not profitable, he shot back that Apple did “a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive”. The chief executive added: “We want to leave the world better than we found it.”
Addressing he NCPPR representative directly, he said: “If you want me to do things only for ROI [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock.”
So some Apple investors were concerned that the company might be throwing good money after bad (but socially chic) investments into green energy, and that is what set off the CEO of one of the world’s largest companies? Really?
For Tim Cook to deflect these legitimate queries into how the publicly-traded company is being run with high-minded platitudes about being business being bigger than profits is laughable. And why did these questions strike such a nerve? Why must the political affiliation of an investment group be brought into the discussion of how the corporation is being managed?
It is sad that we live in a world where the only people willing to ask about wasted money on green business ventures end up being pigeon-holed as “right-wing.” It is unfortunate that we live in a world where the only thing that seems to incite righteous anger in anyone on the political left is a challenge to the cult of climate change. The options remaining for those of us with doubts about global warming – and even more specifically, how we ought to best address any such realities – are between full acceptance of anything said by someone using the phrase “green energy” or banishment into the realm of flat-earth crackpots.
The NCPPR had challenged Apple’s sustainability goals, one of which is eventually to have 100 per cent of its power come from green resources, and asked what effects such measures, along with investing in green initiatives, would have on the firm’s bottom line.
The think tank’s shareholder proposal was voted down at the meeting, which would have required Apple to declare the costs of any sustainability programmes it invested in.
Being a profitable company is a good thing, but only if it is legal/ethical. Charity is a good thing, but only if it is actually helping. We don’t like hearing that our charitable efforts may be misguided. Especially from those darned “right-wingers”!
I know nothing says “I’ll prove to you idiots that my plans are going to work” quite like refusing to reveal how much the plans are costing other people.