United Church Funds (UCF) is a signatory of a statement organized by Trillium Asset Management, Croatan Institute and the New York City Comptroller which gathers investors representing $2.1 Trillion in collective assets under management calling for a full repeal of North Carolina’s notorious House Bill 2.
The bill overturns municipal non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and prohibits transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Not only does the bill invalidate the human rights of individuals across the state, but it also has troubling financial implications for the investment climate in North Carolina.
The signatories, representing a wide swath of the investor community, believe that equality is fundamental to a successful workplace and community. As long-term investors in companies doing business in North Carolina, the signatories are concerned that HB2 is making it difficult for portfolio companies to provide the safe, open, and inclusive environment necessary for a successful workplace. According to Out Leadership and the Williams Institute, more than $40 million in business investment had already been withdrawn from the state by May, and far more is at risk in future private equity deals and municipal bond issuance.
Nearly 93 percent of the Fortune 500 have adopted inclusive non-discrimination policies protecting their employees on the basis of sexual orientation, and 75 percent of the Fortune 500 also include gender identity and expression in order to better position themselves to attract and retain the best talent. Research has shown that LGBT-supportive policies lead to positive business outcomes, lower staff turnover, and increased job satisfaction. Just this year, a Credit Suisse report found that companies with strong policies on LGBT protections financially outperform those that do not.
HB2 has received extraordinary public condemnation and has led to federal civil rights lawsuits, travel bans by dozens of state and local governments, and opposition from hundreds of companies. Internationally, the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory directed at their LGBT citizens visiting North Carolina while the European Union criticized HB2 as a contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
As investors in companies that employ thousands of people across the state, the signatories to this statement are united in calling for a full repeal of HB2. By taking this positive step, North Carolina would assert itself as an inclusive and competitive place for businesses and investors alike.
United Church Funds thanks the lead investors for their coordinating work, and for the text of this statement, which can be read here.