Sparks may fly at Apple’s annual general meeting in Cupertino, Calif. today.

The meeting of Apple shareholders will also feature a man named Horace Cooper of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank formed in 1982 to cover U.S. Congress, insider political information, global warming, legal reform and the environment. It is also an Apple shareholder.

At this meeting Cooper plans to ask Apple CEO Tim Cook if the company he runs “will stand firm against the adoption of mandatory sustainability standards by trade associations to which Apple belongs.
Currently Apple is a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), one of America’s largest trade organizations. RILA is calling on its member companies to undertake expensive capital expenditures, restrict the use of the property they own and lobby local governments for more restrictive, mandatory building codes that would apply to everyone, not just RILA members, according to Cooper’s group.
Apparently late last year, Apple temporarily withdrew from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) sustainability registry, only to return a few days later after the city of San Francisco announced it would no longer buy Apple computers and other cities and some universities said they were reviewing their policies. Cooper’s group is claiming that Apple’s line of MacBook Pros are viewed as not meeting the standards.
Apple’s newest laptop, the MacBook Pro with a Retina display for example, ended up earning EPEAT’s top “gold” certification after EPEAT was convinced that the standards should evolve, but the episode provided several lessons, one of which is that external ratings standards can deter innovation, Cooper group reported in an email sent out on Feb. 27th.
It is the National Center for Public Policy Research’s assertion that it is unlikely a smaller company, one without Apple’s influence, would have moved forward with a product so contrary to the accepted standards.
Cooper added: “Environmental benchmarks are fine as a tool for consumers to voluntarily use when deciding what products to buy. But mandatory standards are anti-competitive, deter innovation and raise prices, and are difficult for smaller businesses to meet. Even worse is what RILA proposes, which weds mandatory standards on members and on members’ suppliers, and requires mandatory lobbying by member
companies for new, restrictive government regulations. One wonders if RILA is even aware that the engine of prosperity in America is its free market economy?”
Justin Danhof, the director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project, also comment in the Feb. 27th email from the National Center for Public Policy Research, saying the U.S. has enough regulations on business already. It doesn’t need business associations forcing member
businesses to lobby government for still more regulations.

Danhof hope Apple and Cook take a stand for free markets and free enterprise in an attempt to deter mandatory standards by any trade association it is affiliated with, including RILA.

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  • http://www.flora.ca Russell McOrmond

    Was this a serious article? Apple is the beneficiary of considerable government intervention in the marketplace. They are granted monopolies by government on things which should never be treated as scarce, including interfaces and file formats required for interoperability by free market competitors. The whole concept of “digital rights management” which Apple promotes is opposed to free market principles (separation between markets for technology and culture) and property rights (non-owner locks on devices infringe the basic rights of owners).

    Sad that this alleged “conservative think tank” is targeting issues relating to public relations (Apples myth around being a good corporate citizen) rather than actual interventions in the free market by government on behalf of Apple.

  • gisabun

    “conservative think tank”? Can’t be good.