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Apple CEO Tim Cook Explains His Company’s ‘Moral Responsibility’

August 29, 2017, 2:45 PM UTC

Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company has a “moral responsibility” to the U.S. and any other country in which it operates.

Speaking to The New York Times in an interview published on Monday, Cook said that he believes governments around the world are not “less functional,” leaving companies and the citizenry “to step up.”

Cook’s comments were part of a broader interview centered on the iPhone maker’s place in helping people around the globe. Cook, who visited the LBJ Presidential Library, the museum for former President Lyndon B. Johnson, and a new data center his company is erecting on 100% renewable energy, talked at length about his belief that Apple (AAPL), as a prominent company, must remember its place in society.

“I think we have a moral responsibility to help grow the economy, to help grow jobs, to contribute to this country and to contribute to the other countries that we do business in,” he told the Times.

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Still, Cook acknowledged that some critics still believe his allegiance is ultimately to Wall Street.

Cook’s interview comes at a decidedly tumultuous time in American history. It comes just days after white supremacists and Neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Va. and when the U.S. political landscape is contentious, to say the least. And now with tragedy striking people in Houston after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, Cook and other prominent executives are looked to as leaders to help the country rebuild.

In his interview with the Times, Cook was quick to note that Apple’s U.S. footprint is powered by renewable energy, and the same holds true in 23 other countries around the world. He also touted Apple’s education initiatives, aimed at teaching children how to design apps. He said he’s focusing that effort on community colleges to fix the “diversity issue in tech,” an acknowledgement that many professions within the industry are disproportionately performed by white men.

“You want it to increase the diversity of people that are in there, both racial diversity, gender diversity, but also geographic diversity,” Cook said.

Cook’s comments come amid speculation that Apple will be hosting a special press event on September 12 to unveil new iPhones and perhaps a new Apple Watch. The company also typically uses a section of that presentation to talk about its philanthropic or environmental work.