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Creating value by addressing social injustice

Social injustice polarises society, frays democracy and hinders economic growth, as well as raising profound ethical questions. Inequalities created by social injustice pose a threat to long-term universal owner returns, similar to other long-term ESG issues such as climate change.

Social injustice occurs when people do not have access to the same rights and opportunities afforded to others, due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, disabilities or other characteristics. Examples include inequitable access to employment, education, housing, health services and finance; negative stereotypes; and poor and marginalised communities’ greater exposure to pollution and climate change.

These inequities contribute to widening income inequality and persistent, multi-generational gaps in family wealth, educational attainment and health indicators. Addressing the financial risks of social injustice is therefore in investors’ own financial self-interest – in addition to being the right thing to do. But the risks are poorly understood.

We use engagement, voting recommendations and public policy advocacy to identify company-specific risks and opportunities, and build momentum for broader societal changes conducive to long-term value creation. Our systemic stewardship approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) pushes boards and companies to create value by making three positive changes.

First, build more inclusive boards, workforces and cultures that help to dismantle obstacles and enable all individuals to maximise contributions to their companies. Second, reduce harmful company practices that perpetuate injustice in society. Third, develop proactive strategies and products that reduce inequities.

Read the full article in our Q1 2022 Public Engagement Report.

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EOS Client Service and Business Development

Amy D’Eugenio,
Head of Client Service and Business Development, EOS