Berkshire Hathaway

InfluenceMap Score
E+
Performance Band
32%
Organisation Score
53%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Industrials
Head​quarters:
Omaha, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
Pacificorp, NV Energy , MidAmerican, Geico

Climate Lobbying Overview: Berkshire Hathaway appears to have negative engagement with US climate policy from 2020-2022, with limited evidence and disclosure of its policy engagement activities. Subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy appears active on some specific climate policy, with limited transparency in its positions, and holds Board-level membership to the National Association of Manufacturers which engages highly negatively on climate in the US.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: In May 2021, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger appeared to question the science of climate change, stating to E&E News "I don't think we think we know the answer to all these questions about global warming” and that “the people that ask the questions think they know the answers.” In September 2020, as reported by Greentech Media, a spokesperson for Berkshire Hathaway Energy expressed uncertainty in the feasibility of a net-zero future, emphasizing the limitations of current technologies.

The company has not taken a clear position on the need for climate change regulation, overviewing the risks related to various climate regulations in its SEC 10-K forms and 2021 annual report, released February 2020, without any further details on related policy engagement. Similarly, while subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy disclosed lobbying on the Build Back Better Act in its 2021 federal LDA reports, it did not state a position and did not detail any engagement on the bill’s climate provisions. Berkshire Hathaway Energy also stated support for the Paris Agreement in its 2021 proxy statement, although Berkshire Hathaway itself does not appear to have taken a position on the Agreement.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: InfluenceMap was unable to find significant evidence or disclosure of Berkshire Hathaway’s positions on, or engagement with, specific climate policies. The company's subsidiary, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, disclosed lobbying on the Inflation Reduction Act in its Q3 2022 federal LDA reports, although it did not state a position and did not detail any engagement on the bill’s climate provisions. The company did not respond to CDP’s 2021 Climate Change disclosure request. Subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy discloses lobbying on a number of climate change policy areas in its 2021 and 2022 federal lobbying reports, including unspecified cap and trade legislation and the Methane Emissions Reduction Act, but without disclosing its positions. Previously, in statements to media in April and June 2019, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary PacifiCorp supported Oregon’s cap and trade bill and NV Energy supported increasing Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Berkshire Hathaway’s position on the energy transition is generally negative, though with limited recent evidence of engagement. In January 2021, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s website noted that “coal’s importance in a balanced energy portfolio cannot be denied,” although the statement appears to have since been removed. Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s 2022 federal LDA reports disclose lobbying on a number of policies to transition the energy mix, including unspecified clean energy standard legislation and policy related to the buildout of electric vehicle infrastructure, but the reports do not disclose any positions or further details of engagement. In May 2021, Berkshire Hathaway owner and Chairman Warren Buffet continued to advocate for the role of coal in the energy mix, stating 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, and the company has not published a formal review of its industry 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 of the National Association of Manufacturers. Both of these groups continue to actively oppose US climate policy, including the Build Back Better and Inflation Reduction Act.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q3 2022.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
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-2NA-2NANANANS
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-22NS-21-2NS
-22NS-20-2NS
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-2NS-2NANANANS
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
91%
 
91%
 
29%
 
29%
 
28%
 
28%
 
38%
 
38%

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.