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Wait a second. From the lede:

"The self-described conservative think tank was pushing a shareholder proposal that would have required Apple to disclose the costs of its sustainability programs and to be more transparent about its participation in "certain trade associations and business organizations promoting the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability.""

What is so wrong with that request? Forget your opinions and mine, as well as of the think tank. Asking Apple to disclose what it is spending, and where, is a reasonable request. And even if you're a firm believer in the dangers of anthropogenic global warming, you must understand that not all of the organizations doing research or providing information about it are entirely reputable. Information is good. Put it out there. Let stockholders decide.




The angry Cook wasn't responding to the proposal but to the NCPPR rep who asked questions with the intention to stir the pot after the board already rejected the proposal.

> During the question and answer session, however, the NCPPR representative asked Mr. Cook two questions, both of which were in line with the principles espoused in the group's proposal.

> The first question challenged an assertion from Mr. Cook that Apple's sustainability programs and goals—Apple plans on having 100 percent of its power come from green sources—are good for the bottom line. The representative asked Mr. Cook if that was the case only because of government subsidies on green energy.

> Mr. Cook didn't directly answer that question, but instead focused on the second question: the NCPPR representative asked Mr. Cook to commit right then and there to doing only those things that were profitable.

Pushing the CEO to commit to a promise to only do things that are profitable is a nice way to change the whole tone of the conversation. The NCPPR rep could've asked it differently without demanding something from the CEO.


Because it's concern trolling - they do not offer these proposals to actually get the information - they are looking for ammunition to stir the pot.


Like I said, forget their opinions, but also forget their motivations. What is wrong with the request?


There is nothing wrong with the request. However it was soundly rejected by the shareholders (only 2.95%). That's how corporate democracy works. The problem is that they kept pushing to get their way even after they had been voted down by the shareholders.

The more I hear about Tim Cook, the more I admire him. That was a really great put-down he delivered. There comes a point where you can't reason any further with unreasonable people and you just have to tell them to fuck off.


The next thing to do after that is to go and publicly complain about how political discourse has devolved recently.


But you can't. If the motivations weren't there, they wouldn't have asked the question. That kind of question only exists when there's an underlying motivation to use such information as ammunition. This is why such attacks are so cunning. The question sounds logical and fair, but it must be avoided because the potential damage is massive.


Well, for Apple to collect that information would probably be significant work. What's the cost of swapping out bad metals in their batteries? Some of it is really hard to quantify.

But, it wasn't a serious request for information. That's what was wrong with the request — it wasn't one. They were trolling. And you don't feed trolls.


Shouldn't they be doing that anyway? Like, shouldn't the company know how much policies cost it versus the alternatives? Or it's better not to know the costs if you're doing the right thing?


As a couple other people have already noted, it's not actually a request for information. It's an attempt to gain a high-profile platform to promote an ideological position, which can be deduced from examining the motivations of the requester. You can't decouple the motivation from the request -- they're two parts of the same object.




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