In a global economy, diversity is a hallmark of a well-managed corporation. A diverse workforce, particularly among positions of authority, can indicate a corporate culture based on merit and open to new ideas and perspectives.
We look for the following corporate practices:
- substantial representation of women and minorities among management-level positions, in particular among their senior line executives;
- a notably open work environment for minority groups — for example, for gay and lesbian employees; and
- strong programs for training on sexual harassment and respect for diversity.
Conversely, we view with concern companies that have a record of diversity-related controversies and regulatory sanctions, including those related to sexual harassment and discrimination.
Domini has taken a strong stand in support of gender and racial diversity on corporate boards of directors, since the inception of the Domini Funds. We support shareholder proposals seeking greater board diversity, and we vote against any slate of directors where the board does not have at least one woman or minority director. In 2013, we set a higher standard – we now require at least one woman and person of color, and will vote against the members of the board’s nominating committee if 20% of the board is not represented by either women or persons of color.
For non-U.S. companies, where we cannot generally assess a director’s racial background, we apply our policies to gender only. For Japanese companies, where we vote against virtually every board slate presented, we will generally write to the company to explain the reasons for our vote.
We have also filed shareholder proposals on board diversity and convinced several companies, including Emerson Electric and OGE Energy to adopt policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Learn more about the benefits of board diversity.