switzerlandde
Working towards greater gender equality

Working towards greater gender equality

08-03-2019 | Einblicke
Robeco has long believed that a gender-balanced workforce with more opportunities for women makes companies more successful. In this way, it forms part of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors – focusing on the ‘S’ and ‘G’ – that are integrated into our investment processes. Using active ownership is an important means of achieving this. To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, engagement analyst Laura Bosch Ferreté and Head of Active Ownership Carola van Lamoen detail the work that Robeco and RobecoSAM have done in this field.
  • Laura Bosch Ferreté
    Laura
    Bosch Ferreté
    Engagement specialist
  • Carola van Lamoen
    Carola
    van Lamoen
    Head of Sustainable Investing

Speed read

  • Engagement on gender diversity with RobecoSAM
  • Aimed at US companies in the financial and IT sectors
  • More gender-related shareholder resolutions are being filed

Robeco has been convinced for many years that sustainable corporate behavior can be enhanced by actively exercising our rights as stockowners through voting and engagement activities. These activities are undertaken by Robeco’s Active Ownership department and are aimed at improving the risk return profile of our investments while positively contributing to society.

We advocate for good governance and sustainable practices when casting our votes at shareholder meetings. Engagement entails a constructive and structured dialogue with investee companies to discuss how they manage ESG risks and seize business opportunities associated with sustainability challenges.

Research shows that a gender-balanced workforce positively supports corporate performance in relation to the company’s profitability, risk reduction or share price. A gender diverse workforce at all levels of the organization, with equal opportunities for all employees, supports business and financial performance while improving human capital management. This approach has been the cornerstone of the RobecoSAM Gender Equality Impact Equities fund since its inception in 2015.

Zu den aktuellen Einblicken
Zu den aktuellen Einblicken
Anmelden

Engagement program initiated

In 2017, an engagement program was initiated in collaboration with RobecoSAM that was framed around the guidelines used to determine the eligibility of companies in the Gender Equality Fund. The objectives of the engagement dialogue focus on increasing the disclosures related to gender diversity throughout the workforce, equal remuneration practices, disclosure of well-being programs and how gender diversity is approached at the board level. In the first one and a half years of this project, we engaged with US-based companies operating in the financial and information technology sectors.

During our engagement, we found that commitments put forward by the companies to enhance diversity were not always followed by concrete policies or robust disclosures. This insufficient disclosure was also the topic of a shareholder resolution filed at one of the companies under engagement requesting further disclose of its workforce breakdown.

Female workforce representation

As a result, the first objectives addressed during our engagement discussions were aimed at enhancing disclosures on both female workforce representation at different job levels and equal remuneration opportunities. We believe that addressing these topics would support our investee companies to better attract and retain talent while enhancing the value of their human capital.

Throughout our engagement discussions, guidance was provided in terms of specific disclosures that would be valuable for investors and other stakeholders. Companies responded positively to our engagement input and have taken it into account in their recommendations to management. We will continue to engage with these companies, following up regularly on our discussions and actively tracking their progress.

More women on boards

Gender diversity has become a very relevant topic in the international corporate governance arena. A Spencer Stuart survey found that in 2017, half of the incoming directors on S&P 500 boards were women or from minorities. Government intervention in this area has increased, as several countries such as India and France adopted legislative measures to promote gender diversity at board level through mandatory gender quotas.

In several markets, it is common to find director nominations to serve on the board included on the shareholder meeting’s agenda. Before casting our votes, a thorough assessment of the overall board diversity in terms of tenure, skills, gender and external commitments is conducted, and compared to local best practices. Our voting guidelines have recently been updated to reflect this assessment criteria.

Shareholder resolutions

In the last couple of years, an increasing amount of gender-related shareholder resolutions have been filed predominantly in the US. The content of these resolutions ranges from requesting companies to issue either a gender pay gap or employment diversity report to enhance diversity at the board level. Receiving on average 28% of votes in favor, it sends a clear signal to the company regarding the relevance of the topic for a large proportion of shareholders and creates an incentive to address the topic.

We firmly believe that enhanced disclosures on gender diversity within the workforce and remuneration opportunities would benefit shareholders, as failure to address these matters could present significant legal, reputational, and retention concerns for companies.

Logo

Zugangsbeschränkung / Haftungsausschluss

Die auf diesen Seiten enthaltenen Informationen dienen Marketingzwecken und sind ausschliesslich für (i) qualifizierte Anleger gemäss dem Schweizer Bundesgesetz über die kollektiven Kapitalanlagen vom 23. Juni 2006 („KAG“), (ii) Professionelle Kunden gemäss Anhang II der Richtlinie über Märkte für Finanzinstrumente (2014/65/EU; „MiFID II“) mit Sitz in der Europäischen Union oder im Europäischen Wirtschaftsraum mit einer entsprechenden Lizenz zur Erbringung von Vertriebs- / Angebotshandlungen im Zusammenhang mit Finanzinstrumenten oder für (iii) solche, die hiermit aus eigener Initiative entsprechende Informationen zu spezifischen Finanzinstrumenten erfragen und als professionelle Kunden qualifizieren.

Die Fonds haben ihren Sitz in Luxemburg oder den Niederlanden. Die ACOLIN Fund Services AG, Postanschrift: Affolternstrasse 56, 8050 Zürich, agiert als Schweizer Vertreter der Fonds. UBS Switzerland AG, Bahnhofstrasse 45, 8001 Zürich, Postanschrift: Europastrasse 2, P.O. Box, CH-8152 Opfikon, fungiert als Schweizer Zahlstelle. Der Prospekt, die Key Investor Information Documents (KIIDs), die Satzung, die Jahres- und Halbjahresberichte der Fonds sind auf einfache Anfrage hin und kostenlos im beim Schweizer Vertreter ACOLIN Fund Services AG erhältlich. Die Prospekte sind auch über die Website www.robeco.ch verfügbar.

Einige Fonds, über die Informationen auf dieser Website angezeigt werden, fallen möglicherweise nicht in den Geltungsbereich des KAG und müssen daher nicht über eine entsprechende Genehmigung durch die Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht FINMA verfügen. Einige Fonds sind in Ihrem Wohnsitz- / Sitzstaat möglicherweise nicht verfügbar. Bitte überprüfen Sie den Registrierungsstatus in Ihrem jeweiligen Wohnsitz- / Sitzstaat. Um die in Ihrem Land registrierten Produkte anzuzeigen, gehen Sie bitte zur jeweiligen Länderauswahl, die auf dieser Website zu finden ist, und wählen Sie Ihr Wohnsitz- / Sitzstaat aus.

Weder Informationen noch Meinungen auf dieser Website stellen eine Aufforderung, ein Angebot oder eine Empfehlung zum Kauf, Verkauf oder einer anderweitigen Verfügung eines Finanzinstrumentes dar. Die Informationen auf dieser Webseite stellen keine Anlageberatung oder anderweitige Dienstleistung der Robeco Switzerland Ltd dar. Eine Investition in ein Produkt von Robeco Switzerland Ltd sollte erst erfolgen, nachdem die entsprechenden rechtlichen Dokumente wie Verwaltungsvorschriften, Prospekt, Jahres- und Halbjahresberichte konsultiert wurden.

Durch Klicken auf "Ich stimme zu" bestätigen Sie, dass Sie resp. die von Ihnen vertretene juristische Person eine der oben genannten Kategorien von Adressaten fallen und dass Sie die Nutzungsbedingungen für diese Website gelesen, verstanden und akzeptiert haben.

Nicht Zustimmen