Apple is the latest company to drop out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its disapproval of the chamber’s stance on climate change.
One has to be careful when reading the headlines about this type of story. The list of companies that has recently abandoned the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, citing climate change as one of their primary reasons for leaving, is long and prestigious. In addition to Apple, companies such as PG&E, Exelon and PNM Resources have all recently dropped their membership, while others like Nike, Johnson & Johnson and General Electric have been openly critical of the chamber’s policies on climate change. The quick assumption would be that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not taking a strong enough stance against climate change – and that assumption would be wrong.
Instead, critics of the chamber are upset that they are taking "too strong" a stance on the issue and, in the process, opposing legislation that is likely to pass through Congress and become law. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has set the bar extremely high with regards to its position on climate change, seeking a comprehensive and international approach to the problem. Many see that goal as unrealistic and sure to create legislation that will never make it into law. So companies such as Apple and PG&E, who for various reasons can benefit from some of the existing legislation, are making calculated PR moves by dropping out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The stories will emerge that Apple is taking a stand in favor of legislation designed to address climate change, when in reality Apple is supporting legislation that is not as strong as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would like it to be. And, likely it’s supporting legislation that is beneficial to Apple. It should be noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a membership of over 3 million companies and that the vast majority of its membership remains in good standing.