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Thomson Reuters
Asset Management

Measuring diversity for the responsible investor

Debra Walton

27 Sep 2016

Suad Keserovic poses as he measures a stone ball in Podubravlje village near Zavidovici, Bosnia and Herzegovina April 11, 2016. Keserovic claimed that the stone sphere is 3.30 meter in diameter and the estimated weight of it is about 35 tons. Hundreds of tourists from around the world have visited this stone. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX29GSZ
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Diversity in the workplace is good for business and good for the economy. How can you measure it for a richer, differentiated insight into company performance?

Diversity is now a fundamental element of corporate culture and a driving force for success in a rapidly changing economy. To prosper and thrive in today’s global economy, companies must resonate with an increasingly diverse customer base.

What’s the Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index?

They must foster diversity internally and approach partnership in a more expansive and inclusive manner. Diversity must be seen as a core value and be deeply embedded in corporate culture.

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Quantifying diversity

Diversity and inclusion encompasses acceptance and respect and means that we acknowledge and value the contribution of each team member, regardless of who they are or how they look.

It harvests the unique experience each person brings and aligns that contribution to the mission of the company. It makes everybody feel empowered and prompts them to bring their best to the office every day.

The freedom to express views is a key element of diversity and helps nurture innovation, the holy grail of competitiveness.

We know diversity is good for business, good for the economy — and good for the world. But how can it be quantified? The newly-launched Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index can help.

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Responsible investing has undergone a remarkable evolution during the past decade and especially during the past five years, and has become a priority for many mainstream investors around the world.

ESG metrics

For some investors it’s about understanding how the world is changing and how companies will be affected; for others it’s about changing the world.

Many people see responsible investing as building on traditional approaches by adding a layer of due diligence that incorporates environmental, social, and corporate government (ESG) factors.

ESG-based investing now accounts for about US$21 trillion globally, up from close to zero a decade ago, and is likely to keep growing.

Nearly 1,400 investors managing a combined US$59 trillion signed the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment. About 40% of major global companies report significant ESG metrics to investors on a regular basis.

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Return on equity

The Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index leverages these trends. It’s built on four pillars:

  • Diversity: Gender and cultural diversity across management and boards, and diversity processes and objectives.
  • Inclusion: Flexible working hours, day care services, percentage of employees with disabilities, HIV/AIDS programs, and the HRC Corporate Equality Index.
  • People development: Internal promotion, average training hours, management training, career development processes, skill training, and employee satisfaction.
  • News and controversies: Media publication of controversies related to diversity/opportunity and wages/working conditions.tr-di-infographic

Over a five year period, the 100 companies on our D&I Index had a better return on equity, stronger operating profit margins, and better dividend yields than non-index companies, not to mention lower beta than the benchmark.

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Companies comprising the D&I Index have consistently outperformed those featured in other major global diversity and inclusion indices.

Why? Diversity and opportunity policies generally make for rewarding workplaces with productive, efficient employees who help generate strong financial performance.

This allows companies to devote more time to progressive hiring policies, creating a self-reinforcing cycle that ends up benefiting all stakeholders — investors, customers, and employees. Not to mention having a workforce that resembles a more diverse customer base.

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Thomson Reuters is proud to be on the index, and we hope to keep rising in the rankings.

Our gender diversity programs are among the best in the industry, and we’re involved with a host of organizations that seek to give underprivileged and under-represented people in the job pool a leg up.

But we still have work to do.

Launching the D&I Index shows how important the process is to us. The fact that investors can benefit from diversity and inclusion makes the effort all the more worthwhile.

To learn more, visit the Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index

Thomson Reuters provides trusted ESG data, including 24 metrics used in the Diversity and Inclusion Index, to help financial professionals manage risk and differentiate portfolios. With 5,000+ companies covered, 400+ data measures and 14 years of history we provide the ESG data required for in-depth research.

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