In our work to highlight and influence the vast number of opportunities for corporate board diversity, it seems only natural to take a look at the current weight shareholders carry when it comes to Socially Responsible Investing. There are a number of historical precedents for SRI, and lately, with companies jumping on the ethically concerned bandwagon, investors can now take into consideration not only a promising financial return, but their own social consciousness. There’s no question that investors have been increasingly mindful of their social responsibility and impact when seeking out new investment opportunities. Whether it’s concern for the environment or avoiding companies that profit from tobacco, profitability is no longer the sole factor for investors. The number of investment opportunities that meet both criteria is flourishing.
Despite this good news, however, it seems that boardroom diversity still manages to fall to the wayside. With so many companies providing SRI opportunities with real return, one has to wonder why boardroom diversity is not just a given, but a requirement for any socially responsible company. Thus with proxy season underway, we ask investors to not only vote their proxies, but look carefully at the board slates. Say no to all male boards and write boldly onto your proxy ballot WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? when there are none on the slate. If there is only one woman on the board, vote only for that woman. As shareholders, our vote can send a message to boards that gender diversity does matter.