Dan Hesse

Sprint CEO: 'I still get crucified for deciding to carry the iPhone'

April 17, 2012: 2:49 PM ET

Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse is all for sustainability. The trick will be getting Wall Street on board.

One of the many benefits of being CEO is that you've got the clout to implement some of the things you believe in. For Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, a self-described "son of a Great Depression kid," this means trying to reduce waste and, in general, run a green company.

But that logic doesn't necessarily fly on Wall Street, which, Hesse says, has created a divide between what the company values and what gets traction on the street.

"I still get crucified for deciding to carry the Apple iPhone," Hesse told Fortune's Brainstorm Green conference attendees on April 17, "because in the short term, the investment is significant, but the payoff is long-term."

So even though Sprint has improved its position on Newsweek's Green Rankings every year since 2009, Hesse doesn't talk to most investors about the company's sustainability efforts, such as scrutinizing the supply chain it uses to make its phones and minimizing waste by helping consumers recycle Sprint (S) products. "We don't make a big deal about it because, quite frankly, there is a disconnect with Wall Street."

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