Right Wing Think Tank Wants Apple to Disclose Sustainability Costs

| Editorial

$AAPLThe National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) has put forth a proposal for Apple shareholders that would force the company to disclose more information about its sustainability programs. The right wing think tank also wants Apple to be more open about its participation in "certain trade associations and business organizations promoting the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability."

The proposal is on the ballot for Friday's annual shareholder meeting, and will be voted on during that meeting.

The NCPPR describes itself as "free market activists," and it has been involved in Apple shareholder resolutions for years. In 2012, the group backed a proposal that would force Apple board member Al Gore to disclose what the NCPPR described as a conflict of interest relating to Apple's efforts to supply green energy to some of its facilities. That resolution was soundly rejected by Apple's shareholders.

The group is also an avid climate change denier, a point emphasized in the press release promoting this year's shareholder proposal. In a complaint about the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group that lobbies on behalf of some of the largest retailers in the U.S., including Apple, the NCPRR said:

The elevation of greenhouse-gas emissions to a place of prominence, for example, puts RILA squarely on the side of alarmists who, in the absence of any compelling data, blame human activities, i.e., the burning of fossil fuels, for climate change

The phrase "absence of compelling data" regarding humanity's effect on climate change is all one needs to know to judge the validity of the NCPPR's radical agenda.

On the surface, what the NCPPR is asking for—more transparency from Apple for its shareholders—is reasonable. Transparency is a great goal. What's below the surface illustrates that the NCPPR is pursuing an agenda that elevates the pursuit of anything and everything in the name of profit as something approaching a holy goal.

Mixed in with language touting the importance of transparency are statements that also emphasize that outdated, unsustainable, and ultimately destructive agenda. The following quote from the proposal was highlighted in the group's press release:

Some trade associations and business organizations have expanded beyond the promotion of traditional business goals and are lobbying business executives to pursue objectives with primarily social benefits. This may affect Company profitability and shareholder value. The Company's involvement and acquiescence in these endeavors lacks transparency, and publicly-available information about the Company's trade association memberships and related activities is minimal. An annual report to shareholders will help protect shareholder value.

This proposal doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing. 2012's Shareholder Proposal 3, the one that targeted Al Gore, won just 1.9 percent of the vote. This proposal could garner three, maybe four times that epic showing.

What's interesting is that if the group had crafted a shareholder proposal that focused only on transparency, a proposal devoid of the NCPPR's myopic ideology, a proposal that didn't target membership in only "certain" trade groups, it might well pass.

The reality, however, is that the NCPPR isn't interested in transparency—that's merely the vehicle being used to hawk its actual agenda of exploitation and profit-at-all-cost.

I'll be there at the meeting and will be reporting on the NCPPR's presentation and its reception, as well as the rest of the doings at the meeting.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.  

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Comments

vpndev

Sounds OK as long as Microsoft and Samsung release their data at the same time.

Game on ...

gnasher729

I always was wondering why right wing people call themselves “conservatives”, when instead of conserving nature, conserving the environment, conserving earth for their children they actually promote destructive behaviour.

Laurie Fleming

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/shareholder-value.png

Laurie Fleming

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/shareholder-value.png

Laurie Fleming

Oh well, the img tag doesn’t work. But it is the rebuttal these clowns need.

Lee Dronick

  I always was wondering why right wing people call themselves “conservatives”, when instead of conserving nature, conserving the environment, conserving earth for their children they actually promote destructive behaviour.

Well a hundred years ago, under President Theodore Roosevelt, they did smile

PSMacintosh

Thanks for the info.

I changed my vote to FOR this proposal ......because I WOULD like to know how much Apple is spending and has bought into the “sustainability” agenda.

Such a nice word, sustainability.  But often such wrong-thinking actions in regards to it!
I especially didn’t like how Apple dropped its priority on ergonomics (if it ever had that priority) and, for so many years, touted its “glass” screens with glare, over non-glare screens. (Now its trying to correct that a bit.)

Yes, it will never get voted in.
Good thing, actually, because it would just require another person (of that mentality) to be hired in order to cull up the information and report on it.  Another paid believer working for the establishment of the religion of environmentalism.

marcsten

Transparency. Yeah usre, that’s what they want. Wonder how much they favor the Koch brothers disclosing their actions and investments. Not so transparent there. I’m sure they were happy about Apple’s stance on the latest Arizona affront to being left alone by the government. Conservatives, my ass.

MacFrogger

NCPPR is, and always has been an embarrassment, and might be better described as a “non-think tank.”  They were heavily tied in with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s corrupt schemes.  Google it if you want more info.

Groups like NCPPR, or on the other side, Greenpeace, come after Apple for the media attention (ultimately hoping to raise $$ from those they strike a chord with), in the same way bogus journalists, bloggers, etc know that by writing about Apple they can ensure hits to their blog no matter the quality (or lack thereof) of crap they write.

Bryan: please ignore them. This isn’t the first time you’re covering the antics of these morons, essentially giving them exactly the attention they crave.  They are not worth any attention!

PS to PSMacintosh: Who appointed you as an expert on either sustainability or ergonomics?  Your comments indicate that you seem to know little about either; they are certainly not linked in any way as you imply.

mrmwebmax

+

What I will never understand about groups like NCPPR is that, even if there are doubts about climate change, there are so many other compelling reasons to move away from fossil fuels and to green energy: Fossil fuels are limited. They pollute. They cause acid rain and the acidification of our water sources. They are—hello?—dangerous: A whole town in Canada was literally blown off the map last year when rail tankers carrying oil derailed at high speed:

www.ctvnews.ca/canada/still-recovering-lac-megantic-wants-tracks-taken-out-of-town-1.1705354

My own home town north of Pittsburgh just avoided a similar fate:

www.wtae.com/news/local/westmoreland/vandergrift-train-derailment/24455830

At the same time, those on the far Left need to cut back on the hysteria as well, IMHO, as this screaming headline at Mother Jones shows: “Study: Global Warming Will Cause 180000 More Rapes by 2099”

www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/climate-change-murder-rape

I’m sure a follow-up study will show global warming will also cause the repeal of gay marriage and legalized marijuana as well….

Thomas Soterakos

I guess no one here wants to discuss George Soros.  Hmm, wonder why? Could it be because he is a liberal!!!!!  Lets just go after conservatives.

ibuck

Thanks all for the info. I’ve added NCPPR to my list of think tanks and policy centers. I use my list whenever I hear these organizations in the news so that I can adjust my bs filter.

Penny Melko

Apple just rose to a AAA company in my mind. Tim Cook is on the right side of sustainability over profit. Money won’t matter when our fresh water supply is gone, and Monsanto’s, Bayer’s and Dow Agrosciences herbicides and pesticides cause so much cancer and destroyed intestines that mankind withers and dies in great numbers. We’re way over the top where money dominates our society and people idolize the rich.

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