Earlier today, Apple took a bold stance on climate change by quitting the US Chamber of Commerce. The company joins PG&E, Nike, and Exelon in stepping down from the organization, which is working to stop the Waxman-Markey climate change bill from passing. But while the other companies only cut down on their participation in the Chamber or announced plans to quit at the end of the year, Apple quit immediately. Why?
The decision was triggered partially by the Chamber of Commerce’s criticism of the EPA’s plan to cut down on coal plant emissions, but there is more to it than that. Apple has been trying to embrace its image as a green computing company for the past year–a quest that intensified last week when the company started up a Web site revealing all the dirty details of its carbon emissions.
In a letter to the Chamber of Commerce, Catherine Novelli, Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Affairs, wrote:
“As a company, we are working hard to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions by relying on renewable energy at our facilities…Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is
frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort. We
would prefer the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this
critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate
crisis. However, because the Chamber’s position differs so sharply with
Apple’s, we have decided to resign our membership effective immediately.”
Apple’s move probably won’t change any minds in the Chamber of Commerce–Eric Wohlschegel, a spokesman for the organization, shrugged off the mass exodus by explaining that some companies have more to gain from the Chamber’s stance than others. But Apple will probably get major kudos from environmental organizations, and maybe even a bump in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. Apple knows that sustainability factors more and more into customer purchasing decisions, especially if the price is right. And with a cheaper MacBook reportedly on the horizon, the company might just succeed in bringing in some new business with its bold political moves.