Tim Cook talks diversity, sustainability, and coming out as gay

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Tim Cook talks diversity, sustainability, and coming out as gay
Tim Cook came out as gay five years ago.
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook came out as gay in October 2014 in a history-making essay for Businessweek. Now, half a decade later, he sat down with People en Español to discuss his decision. He also shared his thoughts on diversity and why he has pushed environmental issues at Apple.

Cook on coming out publicly:

“What was driving me was [that] I was getting notes from kids who were struggling with their sexual orientation. They were depressed. Some said [they] had suicidal thoughts. Some had been banished by their own parents and family. It weighed on me in terms of what I could do. Obviously I couldn’t talk to each one individually that reached out, but you always know if you have people reaching out to you that there’s many more that don’t, that are just out there wondering whether they have a future or not, wondering whether life gets better … From there I really decided.”

Cook said that he had the unanimous support of the Apple board when he made his announcement. He said that he didn’t worry about the reaction inside Apple, “because we have a very open employee base.” But he did think that the prejudice some parts of the world (including America) have toward gay people could cause challenges.

Cook on the importance of diversity:

“We know that we create better products by being more diverse. We know the best products are created by the most diverse teams because products are created for everyone. So you want people with a different lens on the world and on different subjects to get together to create. And if you could have these ideas in a collaborative environment, there’s no limit to what you can create.”

Along with diversity, Cook talked about the “Dreamers” DACA program in the United States, and why he has “been pushing” for a resolution that will allow them to stay and work in America.

Cook on the environment:

“We set what some people thought was a crazy goal a few years ago that we were going to run Apple on 100% renewable energy. We achieved that two years ago, and we’ve been running the company on 100% renewable energy. [Apple] decided to set the next crazy objective to do the same for our supply chain, and by next year we’ll have six gigawatts of renewable energy in our supply chain … Our ultimate objective is not to take anything from the Earth, or trees or anything, but use all recycled material to build our products. We’re certainly not there yet, but it’s our next crazy objective along the line. And I think we can do it.”

The interview goes into a lot more detail than this. You can check it out in full here.