Impact Blog
Investing with a gender lens

The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Calvert disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Calvert are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Calvert fund. References to individual companies for Engagement or Research purposes are provided for illustrative purposes only and may not be representative of the results of all of Calvert’s engagement efforts. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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      By Erica Lasdon, ESG Senior Research Analyst, Calvert Research and Management

      Washington - Responsible Investing is a big-picture way of looking at investment opportunities - going beyond financial analysis of a company to fully evaluate a company's performance on a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

      As a result, rather than identifying only a select set of "women's issues," Calvert's investment process seeks to evaluate the interface of women and corporations more broadly, whether in the workplace, marketplace or community. Numerous studies have linked improved corporate financial performance to greater diversity, including greater representation of women on corporate boards and executive teams.1

      Our women-centered approach focuses on specific issues in each of the following key areas:

      Workplace

      • Pay equity
      • Discrimination in hiring, employment, promotion
      • Mentoring programs
      • Women-focused employee resource groups
      • Work-life balance benefits

      Human rights

      • Treatment of women workers along the entire supply chain
      • Human trafficking and reproductive health

      Governance

      • Percentage of women on boards of directors and in the leadership pipeline
      • Number of women in executive positions

      Community relations

      • Support of women-owned businesses
      • Gender-focused philanthropy and corporate engagement
      • Ensuring women have equal access to credit

      Product safety and impact

      • Portrayal of women in marketing materials
      • Toxic chemicals found in products

      Applying the gender lens

      In reviewing companies for investment, we use our in-house, proprietary scoring system to review and rate all constituents of an investable universe. Calvert's proprietary research system is a core aspect of our responsible investment process and one of our Four Pillars of Responsible Investing. It captures ESG criteria from multiple data sources, focusing on long-term factors along with a more short-term, circumstantial score that captures potential company problems or controversies that could affect Calvert's decision to invest.

      In the case of gender issues, we examine whether a company exhibits a lack of diversity on its corporate boards or in its executive ranks, discrimination in hiring or pay, or a pattern of harassment. Our approach also captures problems related to product safety or abuses in company supply chains that cause significant harm to women.

      For example a retail company like a jeweler or car dealership would likely fail to meet the Calvert Principles if we found persistent and widespread discrimination. When otherwise attractive companies find themselves subjected to these events, such as through enforcement actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), we look to see that the company is responding in timely and meaningful ways.

      Another example of how these key workplace women's issues can manifest relate to workplace safety and wage parity. The existence of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines in and of themselves may not be disqualifying, but we have failed companies that demonstrate a pattern of wage discrimination.

      Bottom line: At Calvert, rather than identifying only a select set of "women's issues," our investment process looks at the interface of women and corporations more broadly. Companies with policies that fail to address discriminatory practices or product safety issues face serious financial, commercial and social risk.