Apple says losing money to donate to causes 'the right thing to do'

Apple Park photo of the side of the main building
Apple Park photo of the side of the main building (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple announced that its employee donation matching program hurt its financial performance in Q1 and Q2.
  • Apple's CFO says the program is "absolutely the right thing to do."
  • Tim Cook has also pushed back against ROI-focused investors in the past.

Apple's commitment to doing the right thing has long been something that the company pushes to do despite the financial impact.

During Apple's Q3 2020 earnings call, it appears that its commitment to those ideals remain. Ben Bollen from Cleveland Research asked Luca Maestri, Apple's Chief Financial Officer, asked how COVID-19 has impacted the company's operating expenditures.

"OK. And then, Luca, I'm interested, any color you could share about the impact COVID had on OpEx in the quarter for, you know, work from home stipends, less travel, other employee support costs, and also how the company is thinking about the longer-term opportunity of employees working remotely, maybe more permanently, and any considerations on how that could influence future OpEx. Thanks."

Maestri responded by noting the company's program to match employee donations. According to the CFO, the program had a negative financial impact to the company in for the last six months. Despite the cost, Maestri says "we think it's absolutely the right thing to do."

"On the OpEx front, there are being obviously certain things that have been affected in terms of cost reductions, obviously, travel. It is a perfect example, you know, the number of meetings that we had internally, some of those costs are been reduced. We've also invested heavily in initiatives. For example, you know, we really trying to help during very difficult circumstances. We have a program, for example, where we match our employee donations. We made donations directly as a company around the world to many institutions and governments. On a net basis, I would say probably the cost outweighed the savings both during the March and the June quarter. But we think it's absolutely the right thing to do."

This isn't the first time that Apple has drawn a line in the sand over things like this. Tim Cook, on an investor call back in 2014, famously told investors who were only interested in profit to not invest with the company.

"If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."

The comment came after the company was pressured about its investment in renewable energy. That investment has obviously paid off, as the company now plans to become completely carbon neutral by 2030.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.