SAN JOSE, Calif. Apple Inc. is opposing two petitions from shareholder groups to increase the company's environmental efforts. Both petitions will come up for a vote at the company's annual stockholder meeting February 25 at its corporate office in Cupertino, Calif. according to a proxy statement released Tuesday (Jan 12).
The As You Sow foundation on corporate responsibility will ask Apple on behalf of a group of shareholders including the New York City Office of the Comptroller to prepare a sustainability report by July 2010.
The group wants the report to include information about how Apple 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.
More than 2,700 companies have issued such reports since 2007 including Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, petitioners said. "Apple, however, lags behind global industry peers on
sustainability reporting" in part because "it has not made public greenhouse gas reduction commitments," it added.
A separate group will ask Apple to set up a board-level sustainability committee.
Apple's board rejects both petitions, saying the company has taken adequate steps to protect the environment. The steps include posting information to its Web site since August about its carbon footprint and recently released products.
The Web data "represents the most comprehensive accounting of any electronics company's carbon footprint," the Apple board wrote.
"The Board believes that updates like these provide shareholders with a great deal of relevant information in a more timely manner than an annual report," it said in the proxy statement. " As detailed on its Web site, the company's overall carbon footprint is estimated at 10.2 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents," it added.
The Apple board said it gets regular reports on the company's environmental initiatives which are making significant progress, so it does not need a dedicated sustainability committee. For example, it cited an 18 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a four-year period from a new 20-inch iMac computer.
"The board is unaware of any other company in the electronics industry that can claim such dramatic progress in the area of energy efficiency, including shipping 100 percent EnergyStar 5.0 compliant products," it wrote.