On 1 May 2019, Future Super became the first super fund to completely exclude investments in companies that have no women on their boards, Emily Flood writes.
Diversity has a positive impact on many key aspects of organisational performance
There is a figurative mountain of evidence to support the value of increasing diversity at all levels of a business. A report by McKinsey & Co found that companies with strong diversity have better competitive performance, talent management, and risk mitigation.
Beyond that, MSCI found that women having a strong voice in the boardroom translated to significantly better financial performance for companies when compared to their industry average.
As ethical investors, we believe that someone’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion shouldn’t stand between them and their definition of success. As guardians of our members’ retirement savings, we also see the financial returns diversity can offer to investors.
That’s why we began the process early last year, by removing all Australian companies without gender diversity on their boards from our portfolio. We also started engaging with the global companies in our portfolio that had all male boards.
Diversity 101 with a deadline
While culture and historical context can influence diversity performance for companies, we shared information and resources with them to show the value of making the change. We also gave them a clear deadline for when we expected them to make change.
This week marks the final deadline, and as a result we’ve divested from 7 companies that did not make any changes or share plans to improve the diversity in their boardroom.
We’re proud to stand by our members and partners in investing in a fair and equal future.
This step supplements our other strategies to use our power as an employer, investor, and superannuation fund to improve equality. This includes sponsoring the ASX 100 gender pay gap Leaders and Laggards report, our BabyBump program to support primary caregivers who take a career break to care for a child, and our internal policies and pay gap reporting for staff.