Voters shoot down human rights committee proposal at Apple shareholders meeting

Posted:
in AAPL Investors
A proposal to create an Apple human rights committee was defeated in voting during Tuesday's shareholders meeting, AppleInsider can confirm.




During preliminary proxy voting, the measure had just 5.6 percent support, noted CNET's Shara Tibken. At the meeting itself a supporting shareholder suggested that a committee could look into the issue of youth smartphone addiction, including tools and education to stem any problems.

Apple opposed creating the group, claiming that its audit committee accomplishes the same goal -- though the backing shareholder said the new committee would go beyond the company's present efforts.

Apple is frequently a supporter of human rights causes, particularly when it comes to racial and LGBT issues in the U.S. It has sometimes been accused of being slow or turning a blind eye, though, when it comes to privacy and labor rights in China, or simply doing any business in countries with repressive regimes. In some cases the company has even avoided marking World AIDS Day in countries with anti-LGBT laws.

Also defeated during the shareholders meeting was Proposal 5, calling for amendments to the shareholder proxy process. All three measures backed by Apple itself -- including ones approving executive compensation, and appointing Ernst & Young as accountants -- passed.
toysandme
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,723member
    A human rights committee is probably a step too far.

    Have an opinion, voice it, act on it where necessary but I don't see any burning need for a dedicated committee to these things. It could be more trouble than it's worth.

    JWSCtoysandmeracerhomie3kingofsomewherehotCiprolchasmmuthuk_vanalingammonstrosityjony0
  • Reply 2 of 27
    It is commercial business - not activism. Take it elsewhere.
    mike1shaminoJWSCtoysandmeentropysracerhomie3SpamSandwichcornchipCiprolmonstrosity
  • Reply 3 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,060member
    I’m someone who does believe that companies should be socially responsible. I do believe that Apple is more so than, at least, most other large international companies.

    but I also realize that being socially responsible doesn’t mean attempting to force things where doing so won’t work, or will actually do more harm than good. When Google pulled out of China, years ago, because they said that they wouldn’t be censored, that made waves. Google was held up as being responsible. But what good did it actually do? Instead of a censored Google, China’s citizens got a Baidu that is totally controlled by the government. Baidu has become a very large company. Was that a good result of Google pulling out? No, it wasn’t.

    companies can’t force governments to do their bidding. If Apple strains too much, they will be kicked out, or shut down. I don’t see that helping anyone.
    lkruppmike1shaminosteven n.JWSClolliverDAalsethchristopher126sully54SpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 27
    This is hardly news.  Anyone who holds stock in any major company sees propositions like this all the time.  I have never once seen any company recommend a yes vote for any shareholder proposal, and it is very very rare that any pass because ultimately most shareholders want their shares to gain value and they trust the corporate management to do what is necessary to bring that about.  And this is perfectly logical - someone who doesn't trust management to maximize the stock's value isn't going to buy it in the first place.

    Very few people are buying shares for the purpose of using them as leverage against the company for activist purposes.  It's all about making a statement that everybody receiving a proxy will (presumably) read, not about making any real change.  There are too many outstanding shares and too high a price to be able to buy (or control) a large enough block to forcibly pass something the board opposes.  If you had that kind of money, you could more easily implement your changes by creating a non-profit foundation of some kind.
    SpamSandwichcornchipjony0potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 5 of 27
    “A proposal to create an Apple human rights committee...
    It has sometimes been accused of being slow or turning a blind eye, though, when it comes to 
    WTF??? In whose survey or in what research did Apple come up short on privacy? Is this a new Consumer Reports hack job, an addendum to the HomePod “rating”? Apple has faced taunting from the tech media, tech users angry with the walled garden, some content creators wanting more info for more sales, our friends at the FBI... ad nauseum. Sources, pls, for yet another effort to proliferate pointless info. 
    mac_dogpotatoleeksoupSynickel
  • Reply 6 of 27
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,713member
    Apple shareholder / voters and Apple customers are not really the same. Perhaps Apple sees their customer base as actually much more interested in human rights than the shareholders do. Trying to be proactive in the interests of their customers is not necessarily a bad thing for business. The shareholders may not want to spend money on this now but it is quite possible they don't possess the long term vision that Apple board members have.
    christopher126
  • Reply 7 of 27
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,693member
    Apple under Tim Cook is doing a fantastic job of leading by example. This permeates everything Apple does from diversity in the hiring process, to being a champion for privacy rights, to leadership engagement via the bully pulpit, to actively supporting charitable causes directly and through employee contribution matching. They can reasonably be expected to consider concerns around "smartphone addiction" as an additional consideration that's factored into new/improved feature development. It's better IMHO to build on the successes around the things they are already doing than to launch a new and independent initiative that may divert resources and focus from what's already working well.
    christopher126
  • Reply 8 of 27
    volcan said:
    Apple shareholder / voters and Apple customers are not really the same. The shareholders may not want to spend money on this now but it is quite possible they don't possess the long term vision that Apple board members have.
    The Apple board recommended voting against this measure. Looks like the board and the shareholders saw eye to eye on their vision.
    edited February 13 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 27
    Shareholder Commandment #1 "Thou shall not f' with the paper."
    This committee sound like it would definitely interfere with the paper.  So there is no surprise here.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,260member

    companies can’t force governments to do their bidding. If Apple strains too much, they will be kicked out, or shut down. I don’t see that helping anyone.

    It’s even worse than that. If you want to see a path to true fascism, not the kind of fascism of the bullshit accusations of activists, it would be establishing a central or at least major role for corporations in any kind of collective activism.  
    Liberal democracies are under enough threat from corporate political influence and graft as it is, without promoting a role for corporations in human rights. In that type of area corporations should just focus on fully complying with the law.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    melgross said:
    When Google… ...said that they wouldn’t be censored…
    Funny. They sure do a lot of that on their own.
    macseekerSpamSandwichcornchipequality72521
  • Reply 12 of 27
    melgross said:
    I’m someone who does believe that companies should be socially responsible. I do believe that Apple is more so than, at least, most other large international companies.

    but I also realize that being socially responsible doesn’t mean attempting to force things where doing so won’t work, or will actually do more harm than good. When Google pulled out of China, years ago, because they said that they wouldn’t be censored, that made waves. Google was held up as being responsible. But what good did it actually do? Instead of a censored Google, China’s citizens got a Baidu that is totally controlled by the government. Baidu has become a very large company. Was that a good result of Google pulling out? No, it wasn’t.

    companies can’t force governments to do their bidding. If Apple strains too much, they will be kicked out, or shut down. I don’t see that helping anyone.
    Agreed...good points. A burgeoning middle class is what changes governments. Revolutions, not so much.

    Although, I do like the steady drip, drip of cultural change. But as you say, maybe a bit too much for a  company. The world needs less committees. :)
  • Reply 13 of 27
    Hmmm...how about parents start doing their job? When children become adults (what is it now, 30, they need to be able to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
    EsquireCatsequality72521
  • Reply 14 of 27
    mac_dog said:
    Hmmm...how about parents start doing their job? When children become adults (what is it now, 30, they need to be able to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
    You have to realize that civilization has already collapsed. It’s not redeemable at this point. The difference between Weimar and today is that there’s one or two things you can’t order by phone today which you could in Weimar. This stuff? Responsibility for your actions? Fiscal responsibility? Being against hedonism and degeneracy? It’s over. There’s about a decade or so left before everything hyperinflates and people start dying off.

    Can’t be saved. Has to be wiped out and started over.
    cornchip
  • Reply 15 of 27
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,756member
    I support human rights. But I dislike extremism. These shareholders are extreme activists. Just like those French activists accusing Apple of being an evil empire. They thoughts of human rights are mostly distortion, exaggeration, or simply lies. Very far from real truths. Like those Chinese labor watch group, they accuse Apple of labor violations. The accusation is actually Apple suppliers. And it never accuse other manufacturers in China. 
    EsquireCatspotatoleeksoup
  • Reply 16 of 27
    Apple already go above and beyond expectations for the protection and advocacy of human rights, both from the perspectives of being lifestyle device maker that has a large labour force and simply from being a large and profitable company. People who buy Apple products can take for granted that their device has minimal environmental impact and optimal labour conditions to any other device maker.

    Requesting that Apple spend more time on this is uninformed and redundant, it's also naive - Apple has done more for the environment and rights of the workers than many of the countries in which those workers are employed. Then they release this information (warts'n'all) annually for review.

    Just because Apple are good at what they do, doesn't mean it's wise to use them as the figurative hammer to every nail. This seems to be a commonly held misconception: that a person or company which is very good at one thing - would suddenly be very good at another thing.

    I also believe that parental controls/device addiction has nothing to do with human rights and intermingling the two is the talk of a bobble-head. Implementing discipline is far easier than software and unwinding human rights abuses.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    melgross said:
    I’m someone who does believe that companies should be socially responsible. I do believe that Apple is more so than, at least, most other large international companies.

    but I also realize that being socially responsible doesn’t mean attempting to force things where doing so won’t work, or will actually do more harm than good. When Google pulled out of China, years ago, because they said that they wouldn’t be censored, that made waves. Google was held up as being responsible. But what good did it actually do? Instead of a censored Google, China’s citizens got a Baidu that is totally controlled by the government. Baidu has become a very large company. Was that a good result of Google pulling out? No, it wasn’t.

    companies can’t force governments to do their bidding. If Apple strains too much, they will be kicked out, or shut down. I don’t see that helping anyone.
    Great points, Mel.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    Sensible outcome. Apple is a commercial entity, not a NGO and these top level ethics issues can be easily reviewed and executed at the Board and leadership level. No need for committee, a waste of time and company resources. Those who proposed the motion should start their own NGO.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,289member
    It is commercial business - not activism. Take it elsewhere.
    You're right. Fuck human rights and business ethics. If Apple wants to use conflict materials sourced from shithole countries that use slave labor then they should do it so that our products are a little cheaper and Apple can get more profit. The only thing I want Apple to be responsible for is the shareholder and I don't care how many children suffer and die to do it.
    edited February 13
  • Reply 20 of 27
    melgross said:
    I’m someone who does believe that companies should be socially responsible. I do believe that Apple is more so than, at least, most other large international companies.

    but I also realize that being socially responsible doesn’t mean attempting to force things where doing so won’t work, or will actually do more harm than good. When Google pulled out of China, years ago, because they said that they wouldn’t be censored, that made waves. Google was held up as being responsible. But what good did it actually do? Instead of a censored Google, China’s citizens got a Baidu that is totally controlled by the government. Baidu has become a very large company. Was that a good result of Google pulling out? No, it wasn’t.

    companies can’t force governments to do their bidding. If Apple strains too much, they will be kicked out, or shut down. I don’t see that helping anyone.
    The problem is deeply rooted in China's Industrial Age, just like we went through here in the US.
    In the early 1900s the US was on par with China today regarding unsafe work practices and basically just working someone to death. Plus we didn't have any laws to protect the worker. 

    China isn't a democracy, so a committee could only make observations and comment on them. They can't enforce any changes other then threatening to stop doing business with the offenders. How would they punish Foxconn if they're the only one who can meet Apple's demands for production?
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