Who Owns America’s No.1 Polluter?

Pok Rie Pexels

Most people have no idea who owns America’s large public companies, except those controlled by their founders, as Meta is by Mark Zuckerberg. However, when corporations file their proxies annually, among the information listed is “The Beneficial Ownership of Common Stock of the Company.”

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The nation’s No.1 polluter, according to the Greenhouse 100 Polluters Index from the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts, is Vistra Energy. It had emissions of 95,036,473 2020 CO2 equivalent metric tons, which was 1.6% of 2020 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from all sources.

Vistra Energy’s primary business is retail electricity and power generation in Texas. Vistra Energy was at the center of the grid failure debacle in February 2021. Over 4.5 million homes lost power. Vistra unexpectedly had to buy $1.5 billion of gas on the spot market.

Vistra regularly promotes its green activity. It does have nuclear energy holdings. It has started initiatives in the solar sector, but its primary revenue is based on fossil fuels. 

In the most recently reported quarter, Vistra had revenue of $4.1 billion, on which it made $502 million. 

According to the company’s proxy, the top beneficial owners of common stock are Brookfield Asset Management Inc. Managed Entities owned 36,765,348 shares, 9.68% of the common

when the proxy was issued. The Vanguard Group, Inc. owned  45,113,622, 11.88% of the common. FMR LLC owns 22,113,822, or 5.84% of the common. BlackRock owned 24,552,650, or 6.47% of the common. Qatar Investment Authority owned 22,890,145, or 6.03% of the common.

As is often the case with major public corporations, the public has no idea who the real owners are. 

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