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 regulations. In 2018-20, subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway have expressed limited support for some state-level renewable policy, while Berkshire Hathaway appears to have had limited direct engagement on climate policy and continues 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 trade associations and other organizations that have promoted climate change denial, although Berkshire Hathaway does not appear to disclose a position on climate science as of March 2021. However, 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". Additionally, a spokesperson for Berkshire Hathaway Energy also stated in 2020 that “the advanced technologies needed to achieve net-zero targets do not exist”, suggesting an unsupportive position to ambitious GHG emissions reductions in line with the IPCC. In 2021, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Berkshire Hathway Energy, stated support for the Paris Agreement since 2015 in its 2021 proxy statement, although no position appears to be taken by Berkshire Hathaway itself.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Pacificorp, stated support for Oregon’s cap and trade bill in 2019 in a media statement. Furthermore, NV Energy, another Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary, in 2019 communicated support for increasing Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030 in another statement to the media. On its corporate website, InfluenceMap was unable to find a dedicated disclosure regarding its climate positioning or engagement with any regulations. Berkshire Hathaway also did not respond to CDP’s 2020 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’s 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 on its website or in its 2020 CDP disclosure. Berkshire Hathaway has not published a review of its industry trade associations as of May 2021. Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiaries retain membership to several industry associations which lobby negatively on climate policy, such as the American Gas Association. A Senior Executive from BNSF, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Manufacturers, which has negatively lobbied US climate legislation.

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.