Berkshire Shareholders To Consider Environmental Vote

During the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder’s meeting in May, shareholders will be voting on an environmental proposal brought to Berkshire by the Nebraska Peace Foundation. The Berkshire Board of Directors opposes the proposition and will be asking shareholders to vote against it. The proposal will require Berkshire Hathaway to sell off its fossil-fuel related holdings within 12 years.

Berkshire Hathaway currently has several investments in companies which deal in fossil fuels, including Phillips 66. The proposal does not include companies that Berkshire Hathaway owns. At the time of writing, Berkshire has several companies which deal in fossil fuels including Lubrizol and many different energy providers across the country.

This marks the second time that the Nebraska foundation has brought a proposal related to climate change to Berkshire Hathaway. Last year, the company shareholders voted against a proposal that would have required Berkshire Hathaway to report on global warming’s risks to its insurance business, although Buffett did address the issue in his letter after the proposal was brought.

The Board of Directors issued a statement in regards to the newest proposal, saying that it was completely unnecessary and urging shareholders to vote against the measure.

“Berkshire’s businesses and the companies in which it invests have corporate governance structures in place to comply with state and federal laws, including compliance with state and federal environmental regulations and laws which reduce the environmental impact of their operations,” the letter said. “The Board believes that Berkshire should not limit its universe of potential investments based upon complex social and moral issues.”

The vote will happen at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder’s meeting on May 6, 2017. In a press release, the Nebraska Peace Foundation said it hopes that Buffett, who holds a majority stake in the company, will agree.

“Mr. Buffett is without doubt an inquisitive intellect with a broad social vision. And though he’s 86 and time is not on his (or the planet’s) side, we’re hoping that at some point soon he will provide the leadership we need.”

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