In December 2020, United Church Funds (UCF) co-filed three shareholder resolutions urging corporate transparency on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. As faith-based investors who value the inherent dignity of all people, we consider these metrics, along with others, to be material factors in assessing the total value of companies in our portfolio.
At a basic level, this information offers insight into corporate culture and commitments. It also sheds light on the racial and gender diversity of management and on how companies are performing in terms of recruitment, retention and promotion, versus peers.
There is also a strong investment case for seeking this information. A 2019 study of the S&P 500 by The Wall Street Journal found that the 20 most diverse companies had an average annual five-year stock return that was 5.8 percent higher than the 20 least-diverse companies. Similar results were reported in an earlier McKinsey study.
Currently, 71 percent of Fortune 250 companies release reports on their workforce composition, yet many of these reports leave much room for improvement.
UCF is not alone in asking corporations for greater effort and transparency. This year, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has begun requiring that public companies annually disclose diversity metrics.
Here are links to our shareholder resolutions with these three companies, which rank poorly in workplace equity transparency:
In this effort, UCF is partnering with As You Sow, a respected shareholder advocacy nonprofit responsible for researching and evaluating the efforts of every company in the Fortune 250, as well as the lead filer on these resolutions and follow-up engagements. With still so much more to do, UCF will continue to work with our partners and on behalf of our clients to ensure that their investments make a positive impact on people’s lives, communities and the world.
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 Holger, Dieter, “The business case for more diversity” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2019 https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-business-case-for-more-diversity-11572091200
 McKinsey & Company, “Delivering through Diversity”, January 2018 https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/business%20functions/organization/our%20insights/delivering%20through%20 diversity/delivering-through-diversity_full-report.ashx