Toxic Trade News / 18 April 2007
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Environmental Groups Respond to Apple Board Opposition to Shareholder Proposals
Al Gore a Key Apple Board Member
Joint Environmental Group Press Release
  Apple Computer, dumped in Taizhou, China. ©2007 Stuart Isett/  
18 April 2007 – On April 16 Apple, Inc. made public their opposition to two environmental proposals to be voted on at the May 10 annual shareholders meeting. The proposals will be offered by two prestigious socially responsible investor groups, As You Sow and Trillium Asset Management. The proposals call on Apple to strengthen their policies on toxic chemical use and the recycling of electronic waste and prohibit the export of electronic waste to developing countries.

Vice President Al Gore is a member of the board of directors of Apple which voted unanimously to oppose both resolutions. In March of this year, more than 70 organizations urged Gore to use his influence as a board member to make the company an industry leader on environmental policy. The board’s opposition was especially disappointing because one year ago Gore met with the Computer TakeBack Campaign and promised to help strengthen Apple's policies.

"It is disappointing to see Vice President Gore oppose proposals that would strengthen Apple's lagging environmental policies. However, it will be far more important if Gore can convince Steve Jobs to make Apple an industry leader in green policies and deeds,” said Rick Hind of Greenpeace.

Activists are awaiting a promised announcement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He told shareholders in February that he plans to make an announcement about Apple's environmental policies on or before the shareholders meeting in May.

“We were encouraged last year when Apple announced on the eve of Earth Day that it would recycle a computer of any brand if a consumer bought a new Mac,” said Ted Smith, Chair of the Computer Take-Back Campaign. “However, we were not thrilled when the details were revealed that make the program hard for consumers to use.”

"Given Apple’s opposition to modest shareholder proposals, we fear that Steve Job's upcoming announcement is likely to be a classic Greenwash package of pretty words and ignore specific actions and timelines. But if Al Gore can convince Jobs to stop using the worst toxic chemicals, stop dumping toxic computer waste in China and Africa and adopt a comprehensive recycling program worldwide, it will be a grand slam for the environment," said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, the organization that first documented global dumping of electronic waste.

Apple came in last on Greenpeace's April scorecard of electronics industry eco-policies scoring only 2.7 out of a possible 10 points. However, the majority of the electronics industry scored 5 or more points with Dell and Lenovo way ahead of Apple. "If Lenovo can go from last place in August to first place in April we are confident that Apple can as well. The only eco-announcement Steve Jobs should make is one that earns Apple a top spot on our scorecard of greener electronics,” said Hind.

For details on the communication between environmental groups and Vice President Gore and Steve Jobs and photos of Apple e-waste visit:


For more information contact:

Rick Hind, Greenpeace (202) 319-2445
Ted Smith, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (408) 287-6707 ext. 302
Jim Puckett, Basel Action Network (206) 652-5555
Barbara Kyle, Computer TakeBack Campaign (415) 206-9595

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Basel Action Network is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Select images courtesy of Chris Jordan