BackgroundCompany performance is a combination of both the financial and non-financial aspects of an organization. These aspects gauge how well a company is executing their business strategy and can be looked at to identify areas for improvement.
Investors have been voicing concerns about sustainability for several decades. But not until recently have they translated their words into action. Most of the investment leaders in the study described meaningful steps their firms are taking to integrate sustainability issues into their investing criteria. It was clear to us that corporate leaders will soon be held accountable by shareholders for ESG performance, including gender equality—if they aren’t already.
“ESG issues have become much more important for us as long-term investors,” Cyrus Taraporevala, president and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, said, expressing a view echoed in many of our interviews. “We seek to analyze material issues such as climate risk, board quality, or cybersecurity in terms of how they impact financial value in a positive or a negative way. That’s the integrative approach we are increasingly taking for all of our investments.”
In recent years, incorporating gender indicators in a company’s mandatory reports has seen a positive trend in the market, due to new regulations as well as further understanding from businesses that having gender diversity in the company has a positive impact on the company’s performance. Nevertheless, a 2020 study by KPMG, found that only 43% of companies who publish Sustainability Reporting include Gender Equality (SDGs no. 5) in their reports. Aligned with our experiences, we found many companies have had policies and practices that promote workplace gender equality. However, these are not captured in the company’s mandatory reports as they were seen as internal programs, and unnecessary to report it externally. Whereas, including them in the mandatory reports can provide transparency of the company’s commitment to Gender Equality (SDGs no. 5) and further improve the company’s values and profile in the eyes of its stakeholders.
In a study of 1,069 leading firms across 35 countries and 24 industries by Professor Zhang1, it was found that gender diversity relates to more productive companies, as measured by market value and revenue, only in contexts where gender diversity is viewed as “normatively” accepted. By normative acceptance, we mean a widespread cultural belief that gender diversity is important. In other words, beliefs about gender diversity create a self-fulfilling cycle. Countries and industries that view gender diversity as important capture benefits from it. Those that don’t, don’t.
Gender diversity can also signal to investors that a firm is well-run. Sociological research on market valuation suggests that investors value when firms use commonly-accepted “best practices,” such as the inclusion of diverse groups in hiring, and they penalize those that break these norms.
If an investor was in a context that accepted gender diversity, they were more likely to value those diverse companies highly. In fact, prior research has even shown a jump in stock prices after firms win an award related to diversity initiatives.
The finding extends past research that analyzed the differences between investors who rewarded firms that hired female board members from those that did not. Those that did value female board members were often part of pension funds, an industry that tends to strongly value gender and other forms of diversity. Those that did not were often part of older, less culturally liberal industries.
In sum, the link between diversity and company performance isn’t as black and white as we once thought. Like many aspects of business, the effect of diversity is context dependent, especially on country and industry norms around gender diversity and inclusion.
However, for almost all companies, we believe the investment in gender diversity is a good one. By most measures, the global business community is becoming more supportive of women and of women’s importance in the economy. This leads to a positive feedback loop – firms that support gender diversity will capture these benefits earlier, leading them to outlast their competitors.
Therefore, IBCWE and ILO are hosting a webinar to discuss the importance of gender equality and reporting, and how it can be leveraged to attract and maintain investors.
ObjectiveThe objectives of this event are:
- to discuss the importance of gender diversity and equality for business
- to discuss how to embed gender indicators in company's mandatory reporting to attract investors
- to discuss other ways to communicate company's commitment to gender diversity and equality to its investors
ParticipantsThe principle target audience of this program is human resource directors, managers, and practitioners from:
- IBCWE members
- Private sectors
- Public sectors
- State-owned enterprises
- HR Communities
- Mr. Yono Reksoprodjo, Board Member of IBCWE
- Mr. Kazutoshi Chatani, Employment Specialist of ILO
- Mr. Rey Sihotang, Head of CEO office and Corporate Secretary, VP of Digiserve (sharing how to convincing the new shareholder about workplace gender equality)
- Bukalapak* (sharing the gender equality programs, both internally and externally to strengthen the annual company reporting)
- Ms. Maya Juwita, Executive Director of IBCWE
Agenda14.00 Opening by MC
14.05 Welcoming speech
14.10 Ice breaking -- Word cloud by MC
14.15 Panel discussion with opening by Moderator
15.00 Q & A session led by Moderator
15.20 Quiz/Polling led by MC
15.25 Closing by MC