Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Apple's chief executive was responding to conservative think tank National Centre for Public Policy Research that has challenged the company's sustainability goals
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.
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.”
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.”
Cook, who is generally known for his level-headed demeanour, also insisted that he places more importance on helping people and the environment than on pure profit, saying: “When we work on making our devices accessible to the blind, I don’t consider bloody ROI.”
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.”
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 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.
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.
Cook has also taken action to improve the conditions at the Foxconn plants in China where iPhones and iPads are made, after widespread criticism about high rates of worker suicide and claims of exploitation.
“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment,” he has said.
Life & Style blogs
Reader dilemma: 'Our son is 34 with an IQ of 85, and spends all his time in his room. What will happen to him when we're no longer here?'
Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
The age of inactivity: How laziness is killing us
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Technician is req...
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Cons...