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Berkshire shareholders reject climate, diversity, China proposals

By Jonathan Stempel

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders on Saturday overwhelmingly rejected six proposals addressing environmental and social policy issues at Warren Buffett's conglomerate, all of which the billionaire investor and his board opposed.

By margins of more than 4-to-1, shareholders at Berkshire's annual meeting voted against two proposals that the company's insurance and energy operations disclose more about their efforts to address climate change including greenhouse gas emissions.

They also turned down a proposal for more disclosure about efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

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By overwhelming majorities, shareholders voted against a separate environment-related proposal, creating a board-level committee to monitor safety at the BNSF railroad unit, and requiring Berkshire to report annually on how much its business operations depend on the "hostile" Chinese government.

Berkshire invested in Chinese electric car company BYD in 2008, though it began reducing that stake in 2022.

The votes were not surprising because Buffett owns special shares that give him a 31% voting stake in Berkshire. That makes it difficult to adopt proposals Buffett opposes.

Berkshire shareholders also reelected the company's 14-person board.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Omaha, Nebraska; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)