Bloomberg Law
March 10, 2023, 6:15 PM

Apple Investors Reject Shareholder Proposals on Racial Equity

Clara Hudson
Clara Hudson

Apple shareholders voted against two race-related investor proposals Friday at the company’s annual meeting.

Two of the five shareholder proposals Apple faced concerned diversity: one sought more information on racial and gender pay gaps, while another questioned if the company’s anti-discrimination policies are harming “non-diverse” employees.

Arjuna Capital’s proposal asked the company to report on median pay gaps across race and gender. The proposal emphasized that pay equity boosts diversity and is linked to “superior stock performance and return on equity.” The proposal says that minorities represent 56% of Apple’s workforce but only 43% of leadership, while women represent 35% of Apple’s workforce and 31% of leadership.

Arjuna Capital managing partner Natasha Lamb said Apple “ignores median pay gaps completely.”

“Apple’s current statistically adjusted pay gaps only assess whether minorities and women are paid similarly for the same roles as their direct peers, and while that’s important, it does nothing to assess the structural racism and sexism that relegates people of color and women into low-paying jobs,” she said at the meeting.

‘Achieved Gender Pay Equity’

Apple said in its proxy statement that it already has a comprehensive approach to pay equity and diverse representation. The company said that it has “achieved gender pay equity globally, as well as pay equity by race and ethnicity in the United States” since 2017.

In another race-related proposal, the National Center for Public Policy Research sought an audit analyzing the impact of civil rights and non-discrimination on the company’s business.

“If the company is, in the name of equity, diversity and inclusion, committing illegal or unconscionable discrimination against employees deemed ‘non-diverse,’ then the company will suffer in myriad ways—all of them both unforgivable and avoidable,” the proposal said. The conservative group asked that the report not rely “only on left-leaning organizations.”

“Although inclusion and diversity sounds so benign, in a very Orwellian sense it translates to precisely the opposite,” Ethan Peck, an associate at the National Center for Public Policy Research said at the meeting. “Inclusion and diversity, or DEI as its often called, is overtly bigoted against men, white people and straight people.”

Apple’s proxy statement said that the group “mischaracterizes Apple’s commitment to inclusion and diversity by suggesting that our policies promoting these goals are discriminatory.” It would be “redundant and unnecessary” to conduct a second civil rights audit, seeing as the company is already doing so, Apple said in its response. The company, it said, is “committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect and believe that both Apple and its shareholders benefit from nurturing a culture where everyone belongs.”

Apple also faced a proposal from the National Legal and Policy Center asking the company to report on the extent to which corporate operations depend on China, which the Center said “is a serial human rights violator, a geopolitical threat, and an adversary to the United States.”

Apple said in its proxy statement that it already provides this information on China in securities filings and in its voluntary reporting on its supply chain and operations in the country. “We are deeply committed to respecting internationally recognized human rights in our global business operations,” the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Clara Hudson in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at; Michael Ferullo at