Reincorporate Apple with a deeper purpose. That’s what we’re asking for in shareholder proposal #5. We suggest some possibilities. Apple could seek to benefit employees and customers, society, and/or the environment. The Board would propose those deeper purposes and shareholders would then vote on them… if our shareholder proposal passes. (click below if you would rather listen than read the article.)
Historically, governments asked for something in return for limited liability, corporate personhood, and easily transferred shares. Corporate charters had to explain how corporations not only serve shareholders but also society. Over time, charters were replaced with “general incorporation codes.”
Apple’s Hype Revealed
Tim Cook and other CEOs signed the Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, committing to “deliver value” to shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. Apple’s opposition statement to this proposal says, “A commitment to all of our stakeholders lies at the heart of Apple’s long-standing values… consistent with our corporate purpose.”
As you can well imagine, studies find such statements are mostly for show – a form of greenwashing to satisfy our green wishes. Corporate leaders have made little use of their power to give weight to the interests of stakeholders.
To see Apple’s real corporate purpose, look at the Articles of Incorporation (Article II):
“The purpose of this corporation is to engage in any lawful act or activity for which a corporation may be organized under the General Corporation Law of California…”
In other words, we won’t break the law.
Reincorporate Apple With Deeper Purpose
“Purpose” is the most distilled form of strategy. Rechartering around deeper social purpose could align Apple’s actions around a North Star guiding and motivating employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders to higher purposes and more sustainable profits. Vote For proposal #5, Reincorporate with Deeper Purpose.