Apple Board Opposes Shareholder Petition Request For Broadly Scoped CSR Report


Best practice in narrative reporting? Image credit:Radley Yeldar Services

EE Times, a trade journal of record for the electronics sector, reports that "As You Sow" wants Apple to produce a report on how they will "reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address other environmental and social impacts such as toxics, recycling and employee and product safety," according to the proxy statement." Apple's Board of Directors says no, maintaining it has made plenty of progress on matters of environment and makes it public on the company website. I'm with the Board on this one. Few people but petitioners ever read these CSR reports; and, it makes no sense to kill trees and spend tens of thousands printing something that will go out of date in a month or two.If I were on the Board I certainly would not want to be handed a business strategy, a choice of performance metrics, and a reporting deadline by stockholders.

Holding the line is especially important if Apple wants to make increased efficiency a competitive advantage. Board members have to take the time to think through, with management, what will be communicated to competitors - not just to consumers - and how the message interacts with legislative advocacy choices.

Moreover, interleaving products safety and occupational health with climate action progress reporting is definitely not the way to go. Companies have direct liability for the former two items, but not for GHG-e emissions - at least not yet. Corporate council will have to go over everything in such a report with a fine tooth comb; and, the result would be platitudes in mountain of word cheese.

Moreover, EPA is making GHG emissions reporting an annual requirement for energy intensive industries in the USA. This will expand over time to other sectors. Lets let the Agency get a focus before we start demanding things from every quarter.

Next thing, PETA will want animal rights reporting tagged on. Keep the GHG-e metrics and progress reporting separate. Do it online, Apple.

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