By Meggin Thwing Eastman, Impact and Screening, MSCI ESG Research
I started my career over two decades ago at the socially responsible research and index firm KLD Research & Analytics (which was acquired by MSCI in 2010). From this vantage point, I have watched environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing garner more and more acceptance and enthusiasm in the market. It is an exciting, compelling time to help define and shape the field of ESG as investors tackle some of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time, from climate change to social inequalities. I have long been passionate about women’s advancement and inclusion in the workplace — MSCI ESG Research’s recent studies have found that diversity has been a compelling element of human capital management for long-term corporate resilience.
With International Women’s Day just behind us, we looked at the relationship between some of the most innovative publicly listed companies in the world — including Amazon.com Inc., Nike Inc. and Visa Inc. among others — that have something in common that you might not expect: more women on their boards than their industry peers. They also tended to have stronger diversity and inclusion programs.
We examined constituents of the MSCI ACWI Index that had been recognized as innovators on one or more annual lists produced by Forbes, Fast Company, MIT Sloan and the Boston Consulting Group between 2015 and 2018. All told, there were 202 index constituents in 42 industries over three years, with the majority (161) clustered in 17 industries, such as software and services, pharmaceuticals and automobile manufacturers. Strong female presence on the board was a defining feature of these companies compared to others in their industries. They were also about 1.5 times as likely to have quantitative diversity targets for recruitment and/or senior management dedicated to overseeing gender diversity and inclusion initiatives.
While we can’t tell what’s cause and what’s effect – a culture that embraces new ideas might also be a culture that values gender diversity – there’s research suggesting that more diverse groups are more creative. And our analyses have found that companies with more women on the board also tended to have more gender-diverse workforces and senior leadership teams. Investors interested in innovation capacity might do well to take a hard look at board gender diversity.
A growing body of research shows that having three women on a corporate board represents a “tipping point” in terms of influence, which is reflected in financial performance. U.S. companies that began the 2011-2016 period with at least three women on the board experienced median gains in Return on Equity (ROE) of 10 percentage points and Earnings Per Share (EPS) of 37%. In contrast, companies that began the period with no female directors experienced median changes of -1 percentage point in ROE and -8% in EPS over the study period. However, a causal link was not established.
MSCI ESG Research has been reporting annually on the state of women’s representation on corporate boards of directors since 2014. As part of this evolving series we have added other areas of interest, relevant to the investment case for gender equality on boards, the differences in compensation regimes between male and female CEOs, and market specific corporate gender diversity issues, such as in Japan, and industry specific issues, such as those in Financials companies. This latest paper in the series provides an update on the state of female representation on corporate boards and in senior management for MSCI AWCI Index constituents as of October 16, 2018.
Previously, we have asked whether the number of women on boards has a relationship to corporate financial performance. Research suggests that it has. But is that the whole story? Does the number of women on boards reflect companies’ overall approach to managing human capital and their financial performance?
In its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, the United Nations set out a vision of a world that includes economic growth, increases in productivity and the eradication of gender discrimination so that women have “full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels.” Our latest research suggests the connection between these goals is relevant to investors.
Studies have asked whether having multiple women on a board of directors has translated into better financial performance. But is that the whole story? Does the number of women on boards relate to a company’s overall human capital policies and its financial performance? Our findings suggest that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Companies with both a more diverse board and stronger talent management practices enjoyed higher growth in employee productivity compared to companies with a diverse board only and to companies with strong talent management practices only.
Article by Meggin Thwing Eastman, Head of Impact and Screening Research for MSCI ESG Research, which includes business alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, controversies, global norms, and involvement in controversial business activities such as tobacco, weapons, and fossil fuel extraction. She has authored numerous research insights and guidance for asset owner and asset managers seeking to incorporate ESG considerations into their investment process. Corporate gender diversity is an area of particular focus.
Recent publications include The Right Stuff: Talent Management and Innovation, Institutional Investing for the SDGs (with the OECD); Women on Boards and the Human Capital Connection; Bitter Pills: The US Opioid Crisis and Potential Impact on Healthcare Companies; Investor Responses to Gun Violence in the US; The State of Investing for SDG Impact Through Public Equities; and Has Gender Pay Parity Arrived in the Executive Suite?. Meggin has worked in the ESG field since joining the former KLD Research & Analytics in 1998. She holds a BA from Williams College and an MA from University of California, Berkeley.
This article was first published in GreenMoney as part of a series of articles on Women in Finance.
We hope you have enjoyed this inspiring and informative article on women in impact investing and sustainable finance. Want more articles on responsible finance and the green economy? Check out the previous GreenMoney feature article about Women in Impact Investing!
Horoscope by Victor Olliver
Visit Victor’s website for a list of astro-services and fees: www.victorolliver.co.uk
June 22-July 22
A turbulent July will have the effect of refreshing certain relationships that have grown stale or redundant. The early-month solar eclipse is a lot about you and how you appear to others: now and over the next few months, think carefully about an image remake and focus a lot more on how you talk to others. It’s odd how minor bad habits can thwart major chances. The mid-month lunar eclipse encourages you to face up to powerful opposition in your life, perhaps from a friend or partner – or from a known foe. Say your piece but also look for points for negotiation. They’re there to be found.
July 23-August 23
We all need a reality check from time to time and you’re no exception to the rule. This involves a number of different factors that include health, faith, work and the power of the past compared to present situations. The most dynamic part of ourselves is the spiritual: the invisible energy which causes us to learn and reflect, because the whole purpose of life is to grow no matter what. Listen carefully to what your body’s telling you; pay attention to your hunches. Do not fear to withdraw to ponder. Wonderful ideas can emerge to act as guides in your quest to self-improve.
August 24-September 22
People are not always receptive to our passions – to ideas that are configured by our heart’s desire. Of course, frustration is an inevitable consequence. But it’s usually when we feel the world is not listening that we then devise ways to make others pay attention. One thing you can do this month with great success is find yourself new friends more on your wavelength. In a group of the like-minded, your energy will be doubled if not trebled. You may think like a lone wolf, but effectiveness arises from a pack mentality.
September 23-October 23
The home area is one that preoccupies you even though there’s much to attend to in your career and public duties. The solar and lunar eclipses this month are all to do with the tension between work and home. A problem involving the latter does require a ‘solution’ and decisions made around the 16th, time of the lunar eclipse, will have consequences anytime between now and January 2020. Be assured that a sense of digression will not affect your reputation or credible good standing. Life has a keen habit of looking after you when you choose to take a responsibility.
October 23-November 22
Career is strongly indicated as area of focus – but you’d be wise to wait for the Mercury retrograde to end (1 August) before making any executive decisions. Before then, there’s a high risk of being misunderstood; or having one’s motives being misapprehended. Think very carefully about the weight of your words and actions – these can be powerful for you, but also if you overplay life’s cards, you’re liable to miss your target. There’s much to gain on a career question: but be prepared to delay a decision if an opportunity presents itself.
November 23-December 21
A strong financial feel in your chart suggests there are important material matters to address in July. Loans and gains from shared resources are likely early in the month. By the 16th you’re taking a much closer look at what you own and earn – and what you discover may not please you entirely. Yet the right attitude is about knowing your limits and working within them. Be honest with any kind of partner about your concerns. Over the next few months, there’s plenty of opportunity to make the most of lucky ruler Jupiter in your sign to raise your game.
December 22-January 20
You’re taking a tough line on something – actually, you have been for some time. But the consequences of this approach are very likely to be faced in July – which in the main is a good thing. Partners/colleagues/friends/allies are in your sights: among them are people you may regard as ‘flaky’ or no longer on the same page as you. Certainly, by the 16th’s lunar eclipse in Capricorn, you’ll be ready to state only too clearly what your terms are or what you can no longer tolerate. Though his sounds troubling, this approach will lead to healthier relationships over the next six months.
January 21-February 19
Newcomers of both sexes are a feature of your July, orchestrated by expansive Jupiter in the solar chart house of Aquarius – doubling the power of the planet to draw you to useful people (or they to you). Past situations may be awakened by July’s solar and lunar eclipses – either ex-lovers fall out of the closet or a current situation resembles a past one and stirs memories, inviting you to consider what you have learnt (and avoid for future reference). Do not try to block out these memories: this is a great time to reflect on how far you have advanced.
February 20-March 20
Career is wonderfully blessed in July, as generous Jupiter forms a useful angle to planets in your solar house of work and health. Further good news is that Jupiter is moving backwards until August before it moves forward again and brings renewed opportunity for promotion or new work right into December. It’s not all plain sailing: a group of people is standing in your way and cannot be easily moved aside. You may find that your effectiveness is improved by joining another group or acting in concert with others to maximise power punch. Solo may be so low in July.
March 21-April 20
Rebel yell! Someplace in your life you are a maverick folk hero, a sort of Robin Hood outlaw at odds with the state, with authority or some other bossy-boots overseer. Yes, you do have a fight on your hands. And if you imagine screaming and shouting will win the day, think again. You’re up against intransigent forces so aim to be clever or compromising – preferably the latter. By mid-month, around the lunar eclipse on the 16th, you’ll have sealed your fate in some way by leading a rebellion. Yes, of course you can win. But be prepared to negotiate.
April 21-May 21
July is all about bureaucracy and vision. In the early part of the month you really do have to plant your nose on documentation, read the small print, and craft your responses carefully. Later in July, a powerful longing to get away from ‘real life’ will fill you – and circumstances may very will bring you opportunity to break away from routines – or from the old life altogether. A holiday or mystery tour is forecast – and neither will be just about the moment. Long-term changes are in progress, conspiring to enlarge your scope.
May 22-June 21
A self-indulgent mood is upon you; perhaps avoid use of iPad or pc if you’ve had an evening tipple first. You’ll only go and spend a lot of money on things you really don’t need. The truth is you must start to think a lot more practically, and this is the upshot of the July solar and lunar eclipses, both of which have financial themes. The reality of a situation asks you to think ‘bottom line’. What must be done to bring outlay in tandem with income? It’s not you lack money; more, that you must think long-term. This month an important decision is made to maximise your asset worth.
Victor Olliver is editor of The Astrological Journal, flagship magazine of the Astrological Association. He can be contacted via: Volliver5@gmail.com.
Visit Victor’s Website for a list of Astro-services and Fees: www.victorolliver.co.uk
We hope you enjoyed reading Victor’s Conscious Horoscope for July. Check out this article on the Top 5 Slow Luxury Travel Hotspots for more fun, conscious reading pleasure!
Reader, in an age when it is easy to roam once remote areas of the globe, I want to take you with me on a culinary organic adventure to Secret Italy, to a place that is no less than a sort of organic and biodynamic garden of eden, located less than two hours from the gates of Rome. This is an area that is hard to define even on a map, and many Italians still don’t even know that it exists in the 21st Century.
Ciociaria, A Landscape of Bright, Emerald Green Hills
This secret land is called Ciociaria – a landscape of rolling bright emerald green hills and mountains, dotted with ancient fortresses, abbeys, Roman antiquities and a subsistence organic agriculture that hasn’t changed for a thousand years or more. DH Lawrence came here during the First World War, an outcast from Britain, having scandalized the establishment for his sexually explicit novels, and wrote part of his novella the Lost Girl here.
Once a place of bandits, pilgrims and saints, this remarkably unspoiled landscape is undergoing a cottage industry renaissance as the unspoiled green and pleasant getaway, the new Tuscany, for organic and biodynamic wine lovers and slow food connoisseurs.
The shepherds and vineyard owners have transformed themselves into artisanal and organic green entrepreneurs and they are opening elegant villas and small organic boutique hotels and delighting food lovers, critics and the gourmet traveller with their biodynamic wines, exquisite (sometimes stinking!) local cheeses and cured meats.
A Small Jewel of an Organic Hotel and Vineyard
Palazzo Tronconi is at the heart of the Ciociaria – a small, intimate, jewel of an organic hotel and working biodynamic vineyard, situated in the ancient hilltop town of Arce. The owner, Marco, offers gourmet, regional organic food and wine tasting holidays – this is where the delicious local produce and grape varieties get to shine with pasta making, organic wine tastings and memorable suppers, alongside trips to Casa Lawrence, DH Lawrence’s Italian idyll and complete rejuvenation at an opulent holistic spa. ( please note that there is an additional charge for one to one cookery classes in the Ethical Hedonist Getaway below. Please ask for details).
Try the Palazzo Tronconi recipe for a deliciously swell la dolce vita organic Negroni cocktail this Christmas.
Created by the hotel’s very own Valentina, and rechristened the ‘Tronconi’, the cocktail features the hotel’s own biodynamic vermouth, ‘Augusto’, together with a sprig of rosemary to enhance the pleasing bitter flavours.
As Orson Welles declared, whilst working in Rome on Calgliostro in 1947. “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad. The two balance each other.”
Nowadays, 50% of your produce has probably traveled further around the globe than you have. In the United States, a meal travels an average of 1,500 miles (up to 2,500 miles) before it ever reaches its destination plate, according to the Worldwatch Institute. Not only does that mean your food is picked unripened and has to be covered with preservatives and pesticides in order for it to still look “fresh” but the transportation costs and emissions have a direct impact on our global environment. When you’re stocking up for your favourite festive meal, we’ve compiled a checklist of all the freshest veggies in season right now in the UK! Take a look and pick out a few to try by shopping for local, organic and biodynamic food grown in season. It is better for you and the planet.
In the dead of winter, our skin needs be nurtured, protected and cocooned from the combined onslaught of arctic blasts and central heating. Skin can appear dull and pale as it is a time of hibernation and stillness. The best skincare in the world harnesses the potent plant extracts of organic and biodynamic flowers, plants, berries and herbs grown to strict biodynamic farming methods to feed the skin with beneficial nutrients in their most fecund, potent form.
Based in a fairytale, turreted monastery in Germany, Martina Gebhardt produces some of the most effective and truly exquisite to use biodynamic skincare I have ever had the good fortune to experience and become a convert to. Just as we crave the best organic and biodynamic food, why should our skincare be any less nutritious?
The Martina Gebhardt Demeter certified shea butter range, is the ideal SOS organic beauty in winter, and great for sensitive skin and those prone to rosacea and allergies. The entire collection exudes the pleasing, delicate scent of wild flowers, and includes extracts of: shea butter, damask rose, elderberry, and magnolia root and camellia leaf.
It is also interesting to note what is left out. There are no essential oils, to avoid sensitivity and absolutely no obscure chemicals. Gebhardt literally grows her own ingredients. Think of the shea butter collection as an organic blanket for your skin. Gebhardt is something of a star in Germany, but a best kept secret in the UK until now. Gebhardt has been making her soulful biodynamic skincare for the past thirty years. It’s also great to see that the entire range comes in elegant white glass recyclable bottles, making it truly sustainable, precious and circular skincare.
In the office: A bottle of Shea Butter Tonic at your desk. Instantly rehydrates your skin and lifts your soul after long stints at the laptop. A truly beautiful and effective combination of biodynamically grown Elderflower and Rose.
Save your cleanser for nighttime use only and simply rinse your face with cool water in the morning. Unless you have used a very oily cream at night, a cool facial rinse in the morning effectively dissolves and sloughs away any residue following your skin’s nighttime detoxification. Cool water achieves this far easier than warm water can!
I am so impressed with this biodynamic skincare that I have decided to stock the collection in our magazine shop, which helps to raise operating revenue for our magazine.
Please leave your name in the comment box or send me a message via Twitter if you would like a personal consultation and to purchase Martina Gebhardt skincare. We will have the range in our shop shortly too! Please note this is an artisanal organic skincare range and supplies are more limited.
We have a travel size gift box of the Martina Gebhardt Shea Butter facial skincare range for one lucky reader to win. The gift box is worth £30.00.
An Eagle Eyrie for Bookworms
Built in the 18th century, this eagle eyrie of a house has exposed vaulted oak ceilings, monastic arches, and cool tiled floors and exudes a restful elegance, charm and airy space. The bedrooms are particularly vast and not too cluttered, adding to the sense of serenity. While bookworms will delight that there are handsome coffee table books everywhere to curl up with and lose all track of time until your pizza making class beckons or a delicious, al fresco local organic lunch.
A Rare Organic Travel Jewel
The Palazzo Tronconi is that rare travel jewel. A place brimming with hospitality and the opportunity to pause the modern world for a while. There is a real buzz about the cookery courses and the vineyard which seeks to combine both ancient and modern sustainable techniques in winemaking. Once here, you will never want to leave. Travel journalists are starting to talk about Lazio as the ‘new Tuscany’, for the landscape, its culinary heritage and focus on traditional farming. Go soon, before more people start to discover it.
Palazzo Tronconi is also a very good place to reignite your passion for cooking good, simple food from scratch. Come here to feed your heart, soul, and foodie taste buds and celebrate ‘ a love for terroir and all the culinary jewels mother nature has to offer when we nurture and look after her well. Even better, you get to do it all in a setting of considered unhomogenised luxury and individuality. The Palazzo is filled with elegant thirties furniture, original artworks, views to linger over, looking out of pristine emerald terraces, and ancient vines. But what lingers in the mind is the genuine love and passion for traditional Italian country food, natural wine, and hospitality.
Pizza and Pasta Making Classes
You can choose between learning how to cook real Italian food dishes including pizza and seriously good, authentic pasta, with organic and biodynamic ingredients. Or you could opt for the biodynamic wine tasting break, discover the important local grape varieties – Lecinaro, black Maturano, Papanaro, Capalongo and finally white Maturano – and spend your time wandering through the vines, observing at an ecosystem in harmony, and sample the extraordinary biodynamic wine produced from these ancient Arcadian vines. For spa lovers, there is a very good organic spa just 15 minutes away from the hotel and the concierge can organise transport. Travel tip. The hotel is located between Naples and Rome. Try and travel via Rome, there are fewer pickpockets!
Via Corte Vecchia
Arce Lazio 03032
Tel: +39 0776 539678
Discover the extraordinary taste, quality, and freshness of biodynamic meat produced at Tablehurst community farm in Sussex. This is the farm beloved of Michelin starred chefs and the entire local community. The farm now offers nationwide meat deliveries- ring for details. Biodynamic farming takes a holistic view of the farm, the soil, animals, and people as one ecosystem. The results can be tasted with each forkful of vibrant, jewel-coloured vegetables and meat bursting with deliciously robust, intense flavours. The farm and farm shop is situated in Forest Row in Sussex and it is absolutely worth a foodie pilgrimage if you are going to be visiting the area.
This restored Georgian house sits upon 400 undisturbed acres in Hampshire and is dedicated to creating “a living place committed to building a self-sustaining relationship between the house and the land.” Checking into this country haven, you are invited to luxuriate in its simple, authentic, luxurious amenities. Heckfield Place boasts the Moon Bar, two restaurants, Marle and Hearth, and its very own spa, The Little Bothy. The home’s farm and gardens invite the freshest seasonal biodynamic ingredients to dance across each plate to create a celebration of artfully, responsibly-sourced cuisine. We suggest taking this sumptuous experience one step further at the spa offering all-natural treatments and equipped with a movement studio, yoga and pilates classes, and personal training packages. Your stay at Heckfield will have you feeling more relaxed and perfectly at home than in any other place you’ve been before.
Simple Soulful Skincare
Imagine biodynamic skincare that not only keeps your face clear and healthy but sources its ingredients through biodynamic sustainable farming and only fair-trade partnerships. Seems too idealistic, too perfect right? Introducing Martina Gebhardt UK, a family business that started making all-natural and holistic skincare back in the 1990’s before most skincare companies were thinking sustainably. They even have a smart system designed to help you find the perfect natural skincare ritual for your skin – give it a go! Another positive? For its exceptional quality and long-lasting life (it takes about 2 months to use up), its price point is economical for the savvy eco-conscious spender at £20 for a 50 ml pot. From eye creams to masks to body massage oils and more, Martina Gebhardt UK’s divine biodynamic skincare work with nature to help you achieve your dream skin goals. They are also renowned for their anti-aging properties and for outperforming the more expensive, over-hyped luxury skincare competition.
Do you ever stop and think about where the seeds of life to grow your food come from? Discover and support the UK’s only community-owned Seed Company – The Seed Co-operative. To grow your own vegetables full of vitality, depth of flavour, colour, and taste start with quality biodynamic and organic seeds. All seeds at the seed co-operative are open-pollinated – naturally. This is best for bees, biodiversity, and the health and biodiversity of our planet. What are you waiting for? Get savvy about seeds!
Did you know?
9 of every 10 mouthfuls of food derives from seed, yet hardly any organic vegetable seed is now produced in the UK. This needs to change.
Globally 75% of seed is sold by just 3 corporations.
Seed companies have a vested interest in promoting F1 hybrid varieties; the open pollinated seed is owned by everyone and no-one. This is very important for food security. We should all have access to the seeds of life, as nature intended.
Growing open-pollinated seeds safeguards precious genetic diversity. Buy seeds and nurture biodiversity – The Seed Co-operative
Written and compiled by Alison Jane Reid and Gwyneth Duesbery. Page Design by Gwyneth Duesbery. Love our journalism? Get involved today. Are you a sustainable, organic or circular business? Ask about our amazing business rewards. Support our crowdfunding on @Patreon
Once you’re familiar with pomegranates (and hopefully as in love with them as we are), want a chance to win a goody bag from our friends at KORRES Skincare and Naturaline containing the best the fruit has to offer? All of this could be your’s:
For extra brownie points, read our main pomegranate superfruit feature and share madly! Everything You Need to Know about Pomegranates
All you have to do is share this feature with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whichever platform you love most by clicking the icons below. Then leave a comment telling us how you’re going to be using pomegranates this season!
As summer comes to a close, it’s time to celebrate the jewel of fruits- the wondrous pomegranate. Mentioned in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this super fruit belongs to the berry family and comes into season from October to February in the Northern hemisphere. The pomegranate is prized in cooking, for adding colour, sweetness, and super nutrition to savoury dishes from fish and chicken to exquisite desserts of chocolate mousse with rich pomegranate sauce. While this heavy, exotic, abundantly seeded fruit is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols and used to rejuvenate the skin, it also is more than just skin deep. It has been used in numerous medical remedies around the globe for hundreds of years, while traditionally grown in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. King Henry the VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, thought so highly of the fruit that she even used it to represent herself on their royal emblem. But what we love most about the story behind the pomegranate and its – its unmatchable benefits to your skin’s longevity and clarity.
What to know more about the ruby-red pomegranate? (more…)