Berkshire Hathaway

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
Omaha, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
Pacificorp, NV Energy , MidAmerican, Geico

Climate Lobbying Overview: Berkshire Hathaway appears to have negative, albeit limited, engagement with US climate policy from 2020-2022. Subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway have expressed some support for some state-level renewable policy since 2019. However, Berkshire Hathaway itself appears to have limited, transparent direct engagement on climate policy, despite continuing to support the role of coal in the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: BSNF, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, appears to have historically funded organizations that have promoted climate change denial, although Berkshire Hathaway does not appear to disclose a position on climate science as of January 2022. In 2021, Vice Chairman Charles Munger appeared to doubt the science of climate change, stating that "the people that ask the questions think they know the answers" and going on to say "We're just more modest." A spokesperson for Berkshire Hathaway Energy also stated in 2020 that “the advanced technologies needed to achieve net-zero targets do not exist,” suggesting the company is not supportive of ambitious GHG emissions reductions in line with IPCC recommendations. In 2021, subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy stated support for the Paris Agreement in its 2021 proxy statement, although Berkshire Hathaway itself does not appear to have taken a position.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: In 2019 media statements, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Pacificorp supported Oregon’s cap and trade bill in a media statement and NV Energy supported increasing Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030. InfluenceMap was unable to detect additional evidence or disclosure of the company’s positioning on specific climate policies. Berkshire Hathaway also did not respond to CDP’s 2021 Climate Change disclosure request.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Berkshire Hathaway appears to take a negative position on the energy transition. In 2021, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s website noted that “coal’s importance in a balanced energy portfolio cannot be denied” while evidence from 2019 suggests that Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffet, supported a long-term role for coal in the energy mix. In 2021 Buffet reportedly acknowledged that fossil fuels will need to be phased out, but also stated that 'we're going to need hydrocarbons for a long time.'

Industry Association Governance: Berkshire Hathaway does not appear to publicly disclose a list of its memberships to industry associations. The company has not published a formal review of its industry trade associations. Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries retain membership to several industry associations which lobby negatively on climate policy: Berkshire Hathaway Energy is a member of the American Gas Association, while a senior executive from BNSF is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Manufacturers. Both of these groups have largely and actively opposed US climate policy.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.