Tim Cook’s New Stance on Climate Change

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Computers, recently told his shareholders to ditch their stocks if they didn’t like his pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  The company has taken a green turn of late—Apple is investing in sustainable energy, has pledged to supply 100 percent of its power from renewable sources, and is cracking down on conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some shareholders question where Cook is leading the company—but the Apple CEO believes some things are more important than profits. Could Tim Cook (see IP’s Profile) also lead Apple into greener charitable giving?

Under Cook’s guidance, Apple’s charitable giving has increased over the past couple of years. In 2012, Apple gave $50 million to Stanford University hospitals and another $50 million to the African aid organization (Product)RED. Cook has also instituted a matching program, promising to match employees’ charitable donations up to $10,000. Apple doesn’t have a philanthropic reputation yet—but things could change with Cook at the helm.

At Apple’s annual meeting last week, Cook was none too happy when a right-wing think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) questioned the profitability of renewable energy investments. Cook is reported to have said “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock”. He also told shareholders that he wanted to “leave the world better than we found it”.

All signs seem to point toward Cook being a passionate environmentalist. However it is too soon to say what this will mean for Apple’s charitable giving. The company is certainly moving towards improving its philanthropic reputation and has definitely taken a stance on climate change. Only time will tell when the two courses will meet.