Apple CEO Tim Cook has just come out and said that businesses should run on more than the pursuit of profit. “We want to leave the world better than we found it.”
That by itself is a noble sentiment. It’s even healthy.
Speaking as someone who works for a company driven almost entirely by the pursuit of profit, treating its employees badly and lying to its customers, constantly compromising its stated goals in an attempt to make the most out of every dollar… I would love to applaud Mr. Cook.
I would love to. But I can’t considering the context of his little impassioned speech.
At a recent shareholders meeting, the National Centre for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) – a conservative think tank that invests some significant money into Apple – brought up Apple’s habit of throwing money at green energy projects that turn daisies instead of profits.
The perfectly practical question resulted in an apparently heated answer. Cook pretty much told them to shove it:
“If you want me to do things only for ROI [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock.”
If he believes that firmly in the evils of global warming and wants to commit his company’s bottom line to fighting such a dreadful fate, well… It’s a free country.
He’s more than welcome to believe whatever he wants to believe in, even when all the actual data suggests that we’re entering a mini-ice age if anything.
After all, while he was freaking out on his backers, weathermen were predicting yet another nasty bout of snowstorms for the East Coast and the Great Lakes were in the middle of completely freezing over.
He probably just didn’t notice any of that because he was getting so hot under the collar at the nerve of investors daring to ask he handle their money with some intelligence... which, incidentally, is just a healthy concept as keeping profit in proper perspective.