Apple, Inc., the UAE, and Joplin, Missouri: An Ethical Opportunity?
On May 22, 2011, a tornado destroyed a large portion of Joplin, Missouri. The tornado was the deadliest in the U.S. since modern record keeping began in 1950 by the National Weather Service. Six schools, including the city’s only high school, were destroyed. Insurance would cover construction of new buildings but would not replace lost textbooks or computers. Joplin used Apple computers extensively to educate their students. Thus, school officials asked Apple, Inc. to assist them in purchasing Macs to replace their destroyed computers. Apple, Inc., refused to grant Joplin School District additional assistance. However, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stepped in and agreed to donate $500,000 upfront, and provide up to $500,000 more in matched donations. The UAE demonstrated a social responsibility via its contribution to Joplin schools in their time of need. Did Apple, Inc. shirk a social responsibility to Joplin Schools by refusing to give them additional support?