This excerpt taken from the AAPL DEF 14A filed Jan 7, 2009.
WHEREAS: Investors increasingly seek disclosure of companies social and environmental practices in the belief that they impact shareholder value. Many investors believe companies that are good employers, environmental stewards, and corporate citizens are more likely to generate stronger financial returns, better respond to emerging issues, and enjoy long-term business success.
Mainstream financial companies are also increasingly recognizing the links between sustainability performance and shareholder value. Information from corporations on their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change policies is essential to investors as they assess the strengths of corporate securities in the context of climate change and the need for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Globally over 2,700 companies issued reports on sustainability issues in 2007 (www.corporateregister.com). As such, it is no surprise that Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard have taken leadership roles in these areas through the publication of comprehensive sustainability reports that address their companys impacts with regards to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon reduction, toxics, and employee safety. In fact, these companies have provided detailed public assessments of existing emissions and made carbon reduction commitments. Apple, Inc., however, lags behind its global industry peers on sustainability reporting, especially regarding key environmental issues such as climate change.
The information and communication technologies sector is estimated to contribute between 2-3% of total greenhouse gas emissions. As the industry continues to develop globally, this is set to increase further. Given the industrys large social and environmental footprint, we feel it is imperative that Apple develop clear policies and programs that address the impacts of its operations on the environment and on society.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a sustainability report describing corporate strategies regarding climate change, specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other environmental and social impacts such as toxics and recycling, as well as employee and product safety. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, should be published by July 2009.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: The report should include the companys definition of sustainability and a company-wide review of company policies, practices, and metrics related to long-term social and environmental sustainability. Taking early action to calculate emissions and prepare for standards could provide competitive advantage, while inaction risks exposing companies to regulatory and litigation risk and reputational damage.
We recommend that Apple use the Global Reporting Initiatives Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (the Guidelines) to prepare the sustainability report and to use the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as a means to specifically report on its greenhouse gas emissions and reduction efforts. The Global Reporting Initiative (www.globalreporting.org) is an international organization developed with representatives from the business, environmental, human rights and labor communities. The Guidelines provide guidance on report content, including performance on direct economic impacts, environmental, labor practices and decent work conditions, human rights, society, and product responsibility. The Guidelines provide a flexible reporting system that allows the omission of content that is not relevant to company operations.