Discrimination limits what societies can achieve. At a time when global challenges like climate change, pandemics, biodiversity loss and inequality must be confronted, we need to draw on all the human capital available. 

For managers and businesses, discrimination limits the talent pool available to support achievement. A growing body of research shows how bolstering diversity can enhance performance.

Labor shortages in many markets, exacerbated by the ‘Great Resignation’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, make staff retention and recruitment more critical than ever. The recent state laws limiting reproductive health access in the US have had financial impact, even before the recent Supreme Court decision.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research1 found that state restrictions on reproductive health access cost local economies $105 billion annually across the US

In this update, we review the latest academic research into diversity and its impacts on financial performance through innovation, HR management, governance and resilience. We focus on how:

  • Restricted access to reproductive health care could impact businesses following the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade
  • Diversity on boards and in the ‘C Suite’ boosts resilience and financial performance
  • Government-imposed board gender quotas affect corporate HR policies
  • Innovation correlates with diversity (of both gender and knowledge) on boards  
  • Companies with higher percentages of women on their boards tend to have lower carbon emissions

Diversity has value not just in society but in business, where competitiveness depends on productive and fair use of all available talent. A compelling and growing arsenal of research shows that different experiences and perspectives provide for more robust oversight, discussions, and decision-making.

1 Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 20 July 2022: New Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) Report Shows Economic Benefit to Women of Protecting Reproductive Rights

Julie Gorte, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing

Julie is a leading figure in Impax Asset Management’s sustainable investing work, coordinating systemic engagement and the financial implications of integrating sustainability into investment decision-making. Julie researches the connections between sustainability and economic performance. She also tracks and develops insights into the impact of public policy on investment and communicates with public policymakers to help make public policy more favourable to sustainability and sustainable investing. Julie is a member of our Gender Analytics team and the Impax Sustainability Centre.

Prior to joining the firm, Julie headed up the social investment strategy at Calvert. She has held senior roles at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, The Wilderness Society, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Julie serves on the boards of the Endangered Species Coalition, E4theFuture, Clean Production Action, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) and is the board chair of the Sustainable Investments Institute. She holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in resource economics from Michigan State University and has a bachelor’s degree in forest management from Northern Arizona University.

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