U.S. Chamber Fights Back Against Defections

Posted October 6, 2009 at 5:40pm

Just a day after Apple Inc. announced its decision to quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the trade association’s president, Tom Donohue, aggressively pushed back, sending the tech company a letter disputing its characterization of the chamber’s climate change policy.

“It is unfortunate that your company didn’t take the time to understand the Chamber’s position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change,— Donohue wrote to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “I would have hoped that Apple would have supported our efforts to improve environmental stewardship and keep Americans at work and our economy competitive.—

The chamber continues to support federal legislation and a binding international agreement to reduce carbon emissions, according to Donohue.

Donohue’s missive came after Apple Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs Catherine Novelli sent a letter saying the company was resigning its membership from the business trade group immediately because it is at odds with the chamber over climate change.

Apple’s decision comes following unrest in the business community over climate change.

The tech company’s exit comes after three large utilities — Chicago-based Exelon Corp., California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and PNM Resources, a holding company with New Mexico ties — quit the chamber in the past three weeks.

Sportswear company Nike also registered its disapproval of the chamber’s climate change position by quitting the group’s board of directors. Nike said it decided to remain a member in order to try to effect change within the business group.

Apple did not immediately respond to a press inquiry.