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Berkshire shareholders reject climate change, diversity proposals that Buffett opposed

Stock MarketsMay 01, 2021 06:15PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Chevron Pascagoula Refinery is pictured as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches Pascagoula 2/2

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) Inc shareholders on Saturday easily rejected proposals requiring the company run since 1965 by Warren Buffett to disclose more about its efforts to address climate change and promote diversity and inclusion in its workforce.

The rejections were not a surprise, given that Buffett controls nearly one-third of Berkshire's voting power and opposed both proposals.

But the climate change proposal won support from just over 25% of votes cast and the diversity proposal from 24%, suggesting greater discontent than Berkshire shareholders historically demonstrate.

The votes came as a growing number of major investors, including BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK) and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) pension plan, call for companies to promote adherence to good environmental, social and governance principles.

CalPERS, along with Federated Hermes (NYSE:FHI) and Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, had proposed requiring Berkshire to publish annual reports about its climate change efforts.

The nonprofit shareholder advocate As You Sow separately proposed annual reports on diversity, saying companies such as Berkshire benefit from a diverse workforce.

Buffett doesn't dispute that both issues are important, but opposed the proposals because of Berkshire's decentralized model, where its dozens of businesses run largely without his interference so long as they perform and are managed well.

"We do some other asinine things because we're required to do it, so we'll do whatever's required," Buffett said. "But to have the people at Business Wire, Dairy Queen ... make some common report, ... we don't do that stuff at Berkshire."The company has also said it is seeing "great results" from many subsidiaries addressing climate change on their own.

Berkshire shareholders also re-elected all 14 directors, despite calls from Institutional Shareholder Services and Neuberger Berman to withhold votes from members of Berkshire's governance, compensation and nominating committee. The vote totals were not immediately disclosed.

Berkshire shareholders reject climate change, diversity proposals that Buffett opposed
 

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Comments (8)
TL Chan
TL Chan May 02, 2021 1:22AM ET
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one more difference, the CCP law book is for the civian to obey, they themselves obey no law. They interpret the law whatever they like , because they have guns and power and money. Civian life to them is nothing, they are value less than the poultry !
Royal Paquette
Royal Paquette May 02, 2021 1:22AM ET
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what to heche is a "civian"?
Royal Paquette
Royal Paquette May 02, 2021 1:22AM ET
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what to heche is a "civian"?
TL Chan
TL Chan May 02, 2021 1:15AM ET
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Yes. Great to hear voices from sensible people. Most things are not binary. Like CCP putting out very detail law book for China, but it is not for law, it is for CCP to use it to get money and bribes, and for political prosecution and inhumanity act, for money or for criminal act !
Victor Ng
Victor Ng May 01, 2021 8:33PM ET
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Climate change is the secret code for corruption among the big guys
New Jazenevd
New Jazenevd May 01, 2021 7:32PM ET
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Blackrock and calipers management use other people money, that they pretend to invest only, to enforce own political bias on all US public-traded companies. Typical fascism in motion.
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye May 01, 2021 7:32PM ET
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Disagree.  Deep down, BlackRock is about money, so the Politically Correct stuff is just for show.  And what better way to do it, than to be all headlines about supporting Diversity and Climate Change in a situation where they know nothing will come of it with Buffett controlling everything. Cheap way to show how "woke" they are.
Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson May 01, 2021 7:10PM ET
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Diversity is nothing by discrimination against White people and  BH deserves a round of applause for rejecting it.
Todd Gray
Todd Gray May 01, 2021 7:01PM ET
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imo, climate change could have credibility had they been honest about where the 99% of climate change, not caused by man, came from; the 24,000 year annual Northern nod to the sun.
michael engel
michael engel May 01, 2021 6:37PM ET
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Block Canadian oil for climate change and and Warren trains. We have been railroaded for the second time, because Buffett moat : import from Tehran or Venezuela instead of our good neighbor WCS....
Js My
Moorok May 01, 2021 6:37PM ET
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Do not allow this guy to use plastic, vehicle, gas, heat, etc. Let this guy live in forest bare naked.
michael engel
michael engel May 01, 2021 6:37PM ET
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Js My  plastic bottles of coke.
Randy Randy
randy00 May 01, 2021 6:34PM ET
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Quiet, peons.
Dave Jones
Dave Jones May 01, 2021 6:34PM ET
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I once tried to peon my wife but she wouldn't let me!!!
 
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