Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks ‘Corporate Values’ in New Interview

Ahead of this year’s World AIDS Day on December 1, Apple has issued a press release announcing that the company is expanding its partnership with (RED), the 20-person organization founded by U2 singer Bono with the mission of fighting AIDS.

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When asked (likely) about the grounds of this partnership with (RED) by USA Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook replied:

“Of course corporations should have values, because people should have values,” says the soft-spoken tech leader, who has been vocal on a range of civic issues, from gay rights to privacy rules. “And corporations are just a bunch of people.”

We put our weight behind lots of things in the civil rights area,” says Cook. “Similarly, I think it’s key that people think about what they stand for and help their communities. We always say that we want to leave the world better than we found it. So, we try to thoughtfully decide how we can do that.”

According to (RED) CEO Deb Dugan, “it takes just 30 cents a day to keep someone alive.” During the decade-long existence of this organization, Dugan has raised $360 million, money aimed to help at fighting AIDS. Speaking with USA Today, she outlined the organization’s immediate goals:

“The stakes are still high, 37 million people still have HIV/AIDS,” says Dugan. “If you look at the globe, it’s still a modern-day plague. But it’s preventable and it could disappear in our lifetime. Our most immediate goal is to eradicate mother-to-child transmission by 2020, most of which is in Africa.”

Tim Cook also views the partnership with (RED) as a new way to touch a group of people the company otherwise wouldn’t:

“We’ll always help the most people through our products, because they empower people to do great things themselves,” he says. “But this (RED) partnership allows us to touch a group of people we normally wouldn’t. Sub-Saharan Africa is not a big marketplace for us. This is about trying to lift people up.”

According to the latest data cited by USA Today, Apple products account for one third of the $360 million (RED) has raised to date. Starting tomorrow and until December 6, customers can shop for a wide variety of (RED) products, and Apple will donate $1 to (RED)’s mission for every purchase made with Apple Pay at an Apple Store, on its official website or through the Apple Store app, up to a maximum of $1 million. Bank of America will also make a donation for every Apple Pay transaction using its cards, also up to $1 million.