What Innovative Companies and Women on Boards Have in Common

The Tipping Point Towards Positive Financial Performance
Apr 24, 2019 8:35 AM ET

by Meggin Thwing Eastman, Head of Impact and Screening, MSCI ESG Research

I have watched environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing garner more and more acceptance and enthusiasm in the market since I began my career two decades ago. It is an exciting, compelling time to help define and shape the field of ESG as investors tackle some of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time, from climate change to social inequalities. I have long been passionate about women’s advancement and inclusion in the workplace — MSCI ESG Research’s recent studies have found that diversity has been a compelling element of human capital management for long-term corporate resilience.

At MSCI, we looked at the relationship between some of the most innovative publicly listed companies in the world — including Amazon, Nike, GM,. and Visa. among others — that have something in common that you might not expect: more women on their boards than their industry peers. They also tended to have stronger diversity and inclusion programs as well as better financial performance (see research report refered to below). 

We examined constituents of the MSCI ACWI Index that had been recognized as innovators on one or more annual lists produced by Forbes, Fast Company, MIT Sloan and the Boston Consulting Group between 2015 and 2018. All told, there were 202 index constituents in 42 industries over three years, with the majority (161) clustered in 17 industries, such as software and services, pharmaceuticals and automobile manufacturers. Strong female presence on the board was a defining feature of these companies compared to others in their industries. They were also about 1.5 times as likely to have quantitative diversity targets for recruitment and/or senior management dedicated to overseeing gender diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

Read Meggin's full Blog post here featuring links to four informative research reports from MSCI --  https://greenmoney.com/what-innovative-companies-and-women-on-boards-have-in-common 



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