Sustainable investors withhold vote for Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s AGM

Legendary investor also resisting shareholder motion on emissions

Leading US responsible investment institutions have withheld their support for Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual general meeting which takes place this weekend.

Investors who have withheld support for electing the legendary investor as a director of the company include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Christian Brothers Investment Services and Trillium Asset Management, according to advance voting records.

The same investors have also withheld their support for Buffett’s key lieutenant Charlie Munger at the event, which takes place tomorrow (May 4) in Omaha, Nebraska.

CBIS and Trillium have also withheld their support for the re-election of Microsoft founder Bill Gates to the company’s board.

“Our proxy voting guideline is that we will withhold support for a slate of board of directors if the board would not include at least one minority director after the election,” said Jonas Kron, Trillium’s Director of Shareholder Advocacy & Corporate Engagement. “Trillium believes that board diversity is a critically important issue and vote proxies accordingly.”
The AFSCME, CBIS and Trillium are backing aproposal from shareholder Robert Berridge calling for the company to establish “reasonable, quantitative goals” for reduction of greenhouse gas and other air emissions at its energy-generating holdings and report to shareholders. The proposal centres on the conglomerate’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings subsidiary. The Florida State Board of Administration, however, has voted against the motion.

The company wants shareholders to vote against the Berridge resolution, saying it doesn’t think setting emissions goals and reporting to shareholders is a “prudent exercise”. It added: “Proxies given without instructions will be voted Against this shareholder proposal.” A similar resolution in 2011 received around 10% of total shareholder votes.

Elsewhere, New York City Comptroller John Liu and the New York City Pension Funds have announced that four companies — clothes firm Ralph Lauren, food group Domino’s Pizza, tobacco giant Philip Morris and energy company Anadarko Petroleum — have agreed to expand their employee-protection policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

The agreements represent the first time that Liu and the funds engaged Ralph Lauren, Domino’s and Philip Morris in this way. Berkshire Hathaway proxy