Is this man the only climate ally left for the US Chamber?
Back in May I wrote about how the US Chamber was losing friends fast with its 'head in sand' position on climate change. Since then things have seriously started to descend into farce. In fact, its now almost a PR badge of honour for members to publicly upbraid the hapless Chamber and its CEO John Donohue on climate change.
Apple is the latest to join the melee dropping its membership with immediate effect. Cathy Novelli, Apple's Head of Government Affairs ripped into Donohue with this public letter which you can see in full here:
As a company we are working hard to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by relying on renewable energy at our facilities and designing more energy efficient products for our customers. We have undertaken this unilaterally and without government mandate, because we believe it is the right thing to do. For those companies who cannot or will not do the same, Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort. ... We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis.
Donohue immediately shot back in a letter to Steve Jobs (and not Novelli) reported in today's Wall Steet Journal:
It is unfortunate that your company didn’t take the time to understand the Chamber’s position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change
And the gloves are also off over in Cupertino when it comes to environmental positioning relative to the competition. This from Apple's recently released environmental report:
Companies such as Dell and HP primarily report on their facilities as a gauge of their environmental impact. But switching off lights and recycling office waste aren’t enough.
This showdown with the Chamber won't do Apple any harm at all when it comes to the Greenpeace Cool IT index. Apple has gone from zero to hero with Greenpeace and I'm guessing Apple fans care rather more about what Greenpeace thinks than they do about the fusty Chamber. Also, I have to wonder if the recent arrival at Apple from Intel of General Counsel Bruce Sewell has anything to do with this new found activism. Bruce's old job at Intel encompassed corporate sustainability and Intel has been pretty good at being on the right side of the big issues for some time.
Meanwhile over at the NRDC they are keeping a tally of the corporate friends lost by US Chamber CEO John Donohue:
- Quit US Chamber: Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, Apple
- Quit US Chamber Board: Nike
- Says Chamber doesn't represent their views on climate: Johnson&Johnson, General Electric, San Jose Chamber of Commerce
It might be fun to run an office wager on which blue chip will become the next environmental hero by slapping the Chamber on climate change.