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Vanguard says it supported more environmental and social resolutions By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A Vanguard Group booth is seen during INCLUSION’s fintech conference, Shanghai. September 24, 2020. REUTERS/Cheng Leng

By Ross Kerber

(Reuters) – Vanguard Group Inc said on Tuesday it supported environmental and socially focused shareholder resolutions 20% of the time this year, up from 6% in 2020, as climate change and diversity matters drew more focus at corporate annual meetings.

This trend is consistent with the voting patterns of other global top managers in spring proxy season. Companies are now being forced to reveal more information about carbon emissions and the demographics their employees.

In a report sent by a spokeswoman, the top U.S. mutual fund firm outlined several new case studies describing how it cast critical votes this year including at Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) Inc and at Chevron Corp (NYSE:)

At Berkshire, a little over a quarter of votes cast were in favor of two shareholder resolutions, effectively a rebuke for management.

Vanguard stated that it supported a call for Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) Inc to review its diversity initiatives after “our research revealed that the company did not provide public information about its diversity goals, measures or progress.”

Vanguard said that its funds supported a request for Berkshire’s to explain how it handles climate risks and opportunities.

Berkshire officials did not respond immediately to inquiries.

Vanguard also voted for Chevron’s proposal to reduce its emissions. This was a high-profile vote. It said that it allowed enough flexibility for Chevron in how it would implement it and helped the proposal win majority support. Vanguard denied that it supported two shareholder resolutions related to climate issues.

A Chevron spokesperson addressed questions about Vanguard’s report and said, “You can expect to find in that report a reply to shareholder votes from the annual meeting.”

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