Feb 28 Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc
will urge shareholders to reject a proposal by a
Nebraska nonprofit that it sell its investments in oil refiner
Phillips 66 and other companies involved in fossil fuels
over 12 years, the nonprofit said on Tuesday.
The Nebraska Peace Foundation, which focuses on anti-war,
civil rights and environmental issues, said it received a Feb. 9
letter from Berkshire detailing the Omaha-based conglomerate's
opposition to its proposal, to be voted on at Berkshire's annual
meeting on May 6.
"The Board believes that Berkshire should not limit its
universe of potential investments based upon complex social and
moral issues," Berkshire said, according to the nonprofit.
"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," it added.
An assistant to Buffett did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
The Nebraska Peace Foundation called the recommendation
It said Buffett should instead use his "international
celebrity" to "send a message" about the threat posed by climate
change, and the benefits of shifting toward cleaner energy.
The proposal would not cover businesses that Berkshire owns
outright, including several utilities and the chemical company
Buffett owns about 18 percent of Berkshire's stock but
controls nearly one-third of its voting power, and proposals
that lack his support are routinely defeated by wide margins.
At last year's meeting, a Nebraska Peace Foundation proposal
that Berkshire discuss the risks that climate change posed for
its insurance businesses won support from only 11 percent of the
votes cast. Buffett called that proposal unnecessary.
Two other shareholder proposals will be introduced at
Berkshire's annual meeting, Buffett said on Saturday.
Buffett is the world's second-richest person, according to
Forbes magazine. The richest, Microsoft Corp co-founder
and philanthropist Bill Gates, is also on Berkshire's board.
Berkshire's more than 90 businesses include Geico auto
insurance, Dairy Queen ice cream and the BNSF railroad.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Alan