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Cook Doesn’t Want Climate Deniers To Buy Apple

From the UK’s Independent:

Apple’s Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making a profit

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith [sic] | 2 March 2014

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.

Is Tim Cook now getting advice from Governor Cuomo? Those are very bold words, given that a majority of the public no longer believe in man-made global warming.

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.

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.”

Unlike right-wingers.

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 tolerance and diversity are not welcome at Apple.

Bryan Chaffin, a technology writer at The Mac Observer who attended the meeting on Friday, said it was: “The only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry.”

He added: “His body language changed and he spoke in rapid-fire sentences compared to the usual controlled way he speaks.” …

Many people get emotional when you challenge their religious tenets.

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 nerve of such a question! It’s a wonder they weren’t beaten up.

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…

Thank Gaia!

Since taking the helm at Apple in 2011, Cook has made notable improvements to the company’s use of renewable energy, increasing the use of solar, wind and geothermal resources used to power Apple’s offices from around a quarter of its total energy use to more than 75 per cent.

The 53-year-old has also committed millions of dollars of Apple’s money to various good causes – in contrast to his predecessor Jobs, who reportedly once told colleagues that giving money to charity was a waste of time…

Yet another way in which Mr. Jobs was ahead of Tim Cook in his thinking.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, March 3rd, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Cook Doesn’t Want Climate Deniers To Buy Apple”

  1. Gueez. And here I sit at an Apple iMac

    Or, I could buy a Windows machine and support all of Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s lunatic fantasies ..

    • mcg

      Or you could just relax and enjoy your Mac, just like Rush Limbaugh is probably doing this morning.

  2. mcg

    Ugh, I’m really not liking the way the conservative press is playing this, and parroting the stories from the liberal media about this. Yes, Tim Cook gave a contentious response to a contentious challenge. But then the proposal was put to a vote, and lost. And Tim Cook never said anything remotely like “climate deniers should not buy our stock.”

    I don’t know who it was that convinced everyone that the sole purpose of a public company should be to maximize the value of its shareholders, but it’s bullshit. Companies are free to decide on the combination of values that drive their core business, and shareholders are free to decide whether or not that combination is worth their investment.

    Perhaps Apple’s decisions to invest in green energy will have a direct positive impact on their bottom line (though I doubt it). Maybe they think it will have an indirect impact by appealing to green weenies who will turn around and buy more iPhones (perhaps). Maybe they consider it an investment in advancing energy sources that will *eventually* be economically superior to fossil fuels (I’d rather they spend the risk capital than our government!) Maybe they just want to devote some dollars to envirowhacko projects that board member Al Gore would approve of.

    Regardless, so what? I’m not going to evaluate my investment decision based on whether or not they’re doing absolutely everything possible to maximize their ROI. I’m going to decide whether their stock is going to outperform others I’m considering.

    Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Suppose Chick-fil-A were a publicly traded company. Would we begrudge them the right to devote a fraction of their profits in their various charitable efforts? If their sole goal were to maximize shareholder ROI they wouldn’t do that. But I’m guessing the company’s valuation is holding up quite well despite those “distractions”. And if some shareholder activist group stormed the board meeting demanding they stop such practices, I’d hope a similar answer to Tim Cook’s was given.

  3. Petronius

    Liberal doctrine has insinuated itself even into every nook and cranny of the business world, where the idea of putting the interests of owners or stockholders first is now often frowned upon. In fact, modern doctrine teaches that investors are placed last.

    Thus the hierarchy of interests –– as now taught by university business schools in mandatory management courses labeled “Corporate Social Responsibility” –– is this:
    1. customers
    2. employees
    3. community (a soupy abstraction, often a code word for leftist groups and causes)
    4. owners or shareholders

    Companies that follow this social-business model are often praised in the business media as deserving of our admiration. These companies have feelings. Now you can even buy mutual funds that invest only in the most socially-conscious or environmentally-friendly companies.

    So if you are one of the Old School who believes that investors come first, or one who, like Steve Jobs, believes that charity-investing is irrational, you would probably do well to keep your opinion to yourself. Or risk the knee-jerk wrath of the true-believers like Mr Cook –– exploding in your face, one step from violence –– who will accuse you of being an enemy of society.

    Yes, a personal opinion is one luxury that nobody can afford today … unless it is the orthodox opinion.

    The alternative for investors is to invest in your own business, invest in real assets, or, if you go into the stock market, please do your due diligence (includes evaluation of management and corporate governance).

    Thus one alternative to Apple is BB&T Corp. (NYSE-BBT), where Ayn Rand is required reading for management.

    • yadayada

      “Companies that follow this social-business model are often praised in the business media as deserving of our admiration. These companies have feelings.”

      don’t forget these companies also must live in the current “real world” where the government heavily rewards those who “invest wisely in our mother earth”

    • Petronius

      Yes, yada. But I don’t see why Apple needs to take such a hard line on climate change. (Cook’s program is to become 100 percent green energy.)

      Nor do I understand why an investor’s position on climate change should be a litmus test for ownership of Apple stock.

      And how did a simple proposal requiring disclosure of the costs of the green program fail? Have the directors awarded management so many stock options that they now control the vote? Do the big institutional investors blindly vote their shares the way Cook tells them to vote? There is something rotten in Apple’s corporate governance.

      There is a moment in time when a company’s fortunes change and go south. Apple may have just reached that moment.

      Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs. Here Cook went out of his way to insult the majority of Apple’s customers and stockholders. Cook seems to have forgotten that he is supposed to be accountable to Apple’s shareholders.

      Steve Jobs was also a Lib, but Jobs never forgot who he worked for. Never forgot that the business of a for-profit company is to make profits. Never forgot that Apple should do what Apple does best –– innovate great products and earn a profit. Cook doesn’t seem to understand that profits also help people. And that stockholders can donate their profits to the charities or causes of their choice.

      Apple by the way no longer carries the premium of a growth company. It has become old hat. Its P/E ratio is currently only 13, lower than most utilities, banks (like BBT), or large-cap food companies with low risk profiles.

    • yadayada

      possibly it is more cook than “Apple” with the extreme line. difficult to know from the outside. tho I too wonder why then the motion would fail. maybe it is as you ask, management now holds controlling interest . could the massive bonuses of stock certificates and options over the years have given them the leverage to make such inroads? I wouldn’t know, as I’m ignorant of such things.
      as for the insult to large percentage of customers/investors…… it won’t take long to see results reflected in stock price

    • Chinese coal.

      /hypocrisy is a biatch

    • BillK

      Petronius, one other factor is that Steve always cared about making Insanely Great products that were better designed than anyone else’s, more usable and in general were a pleasure to use.

      Apple under Cook has released several generations of “me too” products and freed Jonathan Ive to rip all the user-friendly skeuomorphism out of iOS in favor of a “clean” look favored only by hip 22 year-olds. Apple went from “these icons look like things you’re familiar with” to “come on, everyone knows how to use a smart phone calendar app already, so now let’s make it look cool by making everything have razor-thin lines in a faint font and the entire screen blindingly bright.”

      I say this as a dedicated Apple “fan boy” since 1981.

  4. Right of the People

    <<>>

    If you leave now it would be a great start.

  5. canary

    Cook is faking playing the martyr when truth is he’s going nuts dealing with new regulations forced on him.
    I’m waiting for new “RRD” “Recycling Rage Disorder” being added to the medical code.

    One hundred new medical codes for doctors to deal with were added to the ICD. Being injured by a Turkey is one of them. It’s all about insurance doing everything to pull the “3rd party or workers comp” is responsible.
    It’s enormous.

  6. BillK

    Please buy Apple products, but dump their stock.

    Really, Apple gear is IMHO the best engineered and far more usable than anything even Windows 8 has to offer.

    Most in the Computer Science field are, alas, far left, and unfortunately, there’s no getting around it.

    • Curiosity

      “Most in the Computer Science field are, alas, far left, and unfortunately, there’s no getting around it.”

      I was trying to explain this the other day to my boss, that Computer Scientists are typically communists – which sounded silly coming from me. This is compounded by the cities where computer science has a stronger-than-normal presence (Silicon Valley area; Boston; Seattle)

      The Open Source movement has done some really great things for the computer world, but it has created a large number of starry-eyed communist students who believe open source is everything. Most open source models that I know of that work are still financially backed and not volunteer – they just typically receive operating costs from more than one company, or costs from a single source that has another revenue stream (books, consulting). Most of the students who start out as commies, alas, don’t seem to reason their way out of it. Such is the problem (or advantage) with indoctrinating at the college level and before.




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