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Apple Asks to Exclude Proposal Tying Diversity to Executive Pay

The SEC rebuffed a similar request in 2015.

Apple Inc. asked U.S. securities regulators if it can exclude a shareholder proposal that pushes the iPhone maker to explore linking executive pay to performance on diversity and sustainability.

In an Oct. 9 letter made public this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple attorneys asked if it could exclude the proposal, from Zevin Asset Management, because similar initiatives haven’t garnered the minimum 6% of shareholder support required for re-submission. The SEC rebuffed a similar request in 2015.

Apple investors want to know how diversity and sustainability “relate to C-suite accountability” on issues “where the tech sector’s in crisis,” Pat Tomaino, associate director of socially responsible investing at Zevin, said Thursday in an interview. Zevin owned 36,782 shares of Apple as of June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Technology firms lag behind other industries in linking executive pay to environmental and social metrics, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Boston-based Zevin has submitted similar proposals this year at Amazon.com Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc., Tomaino said.

By Emily Chasan and Meghan Genovese

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