TTP Tech Funding Database Adds Apple-Funded Groups Stalling on Climate Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 31, 2022
Contact: Michael Clauw, email@example.com, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), released an update to its searchable database tool that shows which organizations have received Big Tech funding since 2015. As part of that update, TTP added Apple-funded groups to the database, which already covers organizations funded by Google, Facebook and Amazon.
TTP’s analysis of Apple-funded groups yielded a notable finding: The company’s support for groups like the Texas Association of Business, which has a long history of fighting against regulations designed to curb carbon emissions, undermines CEO Tim Cook’s efforts to build a reputation as a “green” corporate leader taking action on climate change.
Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Sadly, it’s typical for corporations to generously fund both sides of the political spectrum to curry favor for their preferred policies, but Apple’s strong rhetoric in favor of climate action makes this funding hypocrisy particularly galling.”
The Texas Association of Business (TAB), which describes itself as “representing companies of every size and industry” to promote a business-friendly agenda, has waged legal battles against attempts to regulate pollutants, fought against basic regulations designed to curb carbon emissions, and cast doubt on the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity. Apple’s support of TAB has coincided with its expanding presence in Texas, where the company reportedly secured property tax rebates and $25 million in taxpayer-funded grants for its new billion-dollar corporate campus in Austin.
The company has also been a member of powerful groups in Europe and Japan that seek to slow critical advances in environmental law and regulation. One example is BusinessEurope, which a 2021 report ranked as one of the top five most obstructionist industry associations worldwide when it comes to adherence to policies aligned with the Paris Agreement. Another is Keidanren, a conservative Japanese interest group whose delegation to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow included 21 fossil fuel industry representatives—just ahead of BusinessEurope’s 20.
Apple also lists membership in a number of groups that oppose right-to-repair laws, which allow consumers to repair their own devices without restriction from the manufacturer. Right-to repair advocates argue these laws are good for the environment because people can fix damaged phones instead of buying replacements that are manufactured through an emissions-heavy industrial process. Apple’s funding for these groups stands in contrast to its recently adopted position in favor of granting more access to parts and repair instructions to consumers, raising questions around whether the company is still seeking to undermine right-to-repair laws.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “On climate, Apple is seeking to have its cake and eat it too. Talk of a ‘greener’ future is one thing, but until the company’s checkbook aligns with its rhetoric, customers shouldn’t fully buy into its claims of being a true advocate for the environment.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.