34th Annual Conference

April 5-7, 2022

 

Why Investors Care About DEI: Investment Stewardship and Social Activism

20-minute Trend Talk

Day 3

Session Code: TT6-C
When: April 7, 2022
Level: Intermediate
Track: Social Responsibility
Presenters: Meredith Benton, Whistle Stop Capital  |  Jaylen Spann, Whistle Stop Capital

Description

After the murder of George Floyd sparked protests throughout the country, companies pledged to combat racial inequities and donated millions of dollars to organizations combatting racial injustice. These statements, however, have not always translated into in-house actions. For many investors, understanding the effectiveness of a company’s DEI program is not about social activism: it’s about investment stewardship. Strong DEI programs have been linked to share outperformance.

As well-known companies like Nike are being called out for performative giving, investors are concerned that the reputational and operational risks that come from misalignment between these pledges and actual company practices pose an uncompensated financial risk.

This session looks at how incongruencies in corporate practices and DEI commitments have been responded to by investors and provides some initial findings in corporate best practices in reporting and transparency.

Learning Outcomes

• Understand the economic rationale driving investors’ interest in corporate DEI practices
• Learn some of the actions that investors have requested from companies
• Examine investors’ actions to encourage improved DEI programs

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
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Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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