Nobody is likely to deny that Apple’s environmental goals are among the loftiest in corporate America. But one shareholder believes the world’s most valuable company can have an even bigger impact.
In a recent proxy statement for its upcoming shareholders meeting, Apple disclosed that Jantz Management had filed a challenge, calling on Apple to develop a plan that requires all the companies supplying components and manufacturing its products to achieve zero greenhouse emissions by 2030.
Jantz is an investment firm that also considers social and environmental factors in weighing investment decisions.
The proposal would give Apple until June to produce a report that examines the feasibility and options for requiring all of its suppliers and manufacturers to reach this goal.
The shareholder proposal reads, in part:
Shareholders laud Apple for committing to ‘…power[ing] all its operations worldwide on 100 percent renewable energy,’ and for joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. However, these goals do not include suppliers, nor has the Company set a timeframe for this goal. Shareholders believe that to secure the company’s leadership on climate issues, it should set an ambitious target date for becoming net-zero GHG emissions.
Apple’s shareholder meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2016. And it’s worth remembering that such proposals from shareholders almost inevitably fail when opposed by the company, as is the case here.
Still, tech companies account for a huge volume of energy consumption, both in the creation of their products and their use. This latest proposal comes in the wake of the Paris Climate Summit last month. If a broader campaign against tech companies gains traction, it would no doubt have big implications in terms of the economics and the image of the industry.
In that vein, Apple already has one of the greenest reputations in tech. For now, Apple wants shareholders to vote against the proposal, saying it’s already working toward making all of its own facilities zero emission. In addition, the company notes that last year it announced a program to help its partners become “more energy-efficient.”
Those efforts include plans to install more than two gigawatts of new clean energy in Chinese facilities. And the company pointed out that Foxconn has agreed to construct 400 megawatts of solar energy by 2018.
Still, that’s not enough to satisfy Jantz. In a rebuttal filed this week by the president of the company, Christine J. Jantz, “80% of carbon emissions in Apple’s supply chain would not be addressed by Apple’s current plan.”
“Proponent believes that preparing the requested report would bolster Apple’s claims—enhancing corporate credibility, brand, and therefore shareholder value,” she added.