The headline is a question the company’s shareholders have to answer soon. Apple will hold its annual meeting next week, and on Apple’s proxy ballot is a measure that if approved would compel the company to publish a Sustainability report.
The report would likely force Apple to detail target reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and toxins much like competitors Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard already practice. Two advocate groups in particular have been pushing for the change. As You Sow, the group that submitted the original proposal, and Calvert Investments, a leading investment firm, have taken their positions to moxyvote.com.
Shareholders have been using Moxy Vote (http://www.moxyvote.com) to cast their votes on this issue and join a public forum where they can vote alongside advocates and others with whom they see eye-to-eye ideologically.
Moxy Vote is a web-based social platform that enables shareholders to get guidance from advocate groups and vote their proxies in the same place. The action taken on Apple’s sustainability shareholder proposal is one example of how individual investors have a newfound influence in corporate boardrooms.
Apple’s Board of Directors has previously opposed a shareholder initiative to require the company to produce a Corporate Responsibility Report (CSR) detailing Apple’s approach to greenhouse gases, toxins, recycling, and more, according to a report at Environmental Leader (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/01/12/apple-tries-to-avoid-sustainability-reporting/) has issued a proxy filing that asks shareholders to vote against this resolution, saying that the publication would be an unnecessary expense that would “produce little added value.”
They may be right. Apple already publishes a Supplier Responsibility report (http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility) and an Apple and the Environment page (http://www.apple.com/environment). And last month Greenpeace, a group that has harshly criticized Apple in the past for its “non-green” actions, named Apple as one of the greenest electronics makers. It was just over a year ago that the group was criticizing Apple for being slow in “getting serious about climate change.”
Still, As You Sow and other parties have pressured Apple to do more official reporting. We should know soon whether that pressure results in any changes.