MUMBAI: Billionaire investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger took a swipe at the ongoing trend of investors demanding companies to disclose more information on ESG (environment, social and governance) metrics.
The veteran investors, who were speaking at the annual general meeting of Berkshire Hathaway held virtually from Los Angeles, took a dig at the green activist investors by suggesting that they do not act like they know all about global warming.
“People who talk about it a lot think they know all the answers. We are just modest,” Munger said.
Some pockets of the investment community have raised concerns about company’s being ‘greenwashed’ because of pressure from investors and governments to disclose more information on ESG or get out of businesses that harm the environment.
Asked why Berkshire Hathaway does not do reporting on ESG, Buffett swiped back, saying he did not receive even three letters last year from shareholders asking for that sort of disclosures.
“The people who bought Berkshire with their own money voted against it (ESG reporting). The people who did probably didn’t put a dime of their money,” Buffett said.
Buffett said he was not uncomfortable holding stocks in the oil business after a shareholder asked about Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in Chevron.
“I do think the world is moving away from hydrocarbons. I don’t like making moral judgement on businesses. I will not be uncomfortable about being in the oil business,” he said.
Buffett said the world is going to “need a lot of hydrocarbons for a long time”, and that he was glad that “we’ve got them”. Further, he said Chevron is not “an evil country in the least” as he took a dig at investors who hold stocks of companies sponsored by non-democratic states in West Asia.