Promoting greater DE&I for public companies and within our organization
We believe more diverse and inclusive teams lead to stronger decisions and results. As expectations around ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace are broadening to include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and other characteristics, we are using our influence to create positive change for employees, companies, and industries.
Exercising our proxy voting rights help us push for better DE&I practices among the publicly traded companies we have a stake in. For example, we use our votes to push for greater disclosure related to issues including equal pay, human rights, and race. We also encourage companies to use self-disclosure to show commitment and progress toward creating boards that are diverse beyond gender and include other underrepresented groups.
In 2021, the number of shareholder proposals we voted in the US market addressing workforce diversity doubled, with a significant number receiving majority shareholder support. We also saw a marked shift in DE&I-related shareholder proposals toward including equity, particularly to solve disparities between people involving race or ethnicity, gender, and 2SLGBTQ+ identity.
When it comes to promoting greater DE&I, it is important for us to align our organizational efforts with what we do externally. As part of our own DE&I journey, we are taking an intersectional, global approach on diversity and broadening beyond gender, while not leaving it behind. We engaged a third-party organization (EDGE) to identify our strengths and areas for improvement on topics including policies, equitable pay, education, values, commitment from leadership, and more.
“Diverse teams and an inclusive environment are fundamental to stronger decisions and results. We expect boards and companies to develop plans that are built on a foundation of equity and that strengthen diversity. These plans should be integrated in policies, practices and processes such as hiring, and facilitate upward mobility for individuals from diverse backgrounds.”
Stephen McLennan, Executive Managing Director, Total Fund Management
Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan