Erik Wottrich

Management Consultant, Responsible for Centigo’s Sustainability Hub

Seeing the opportunity in diversity and equality?

2018-nov-15 11:00:00

Swedish companies’ and organizations’ work with diversity and equality is driven by opportunities rather than risks. Read on to find out about our sustainability study and the financial performance of equal and diverse companies.

84% see opportunity in diversity

In the Sustainable Business Outlook conducted by Allies and Centigo in 2017/2018, we wanted to find out how business and operational models have been adapted to meet global sustainability challenges according to international guidelines for sustainable businesses. The Sustainable Business Outlook shows by Allies and Centigo shows that the diversity and equality along with environmental issues are three sustainability areas where Swedish companies and organizations take an opportunity-based perspective. We find it encouraging that an opportunity-based view has taken a hold on Swedish companies and organizations and that the value that comes from being an inclusive organization is a predominant view among the participants in our study. There is one notable exception from this, and that is the state-owned companies, that take a risk-based perspective on their efforts regarding the environment.

Financial returns on equal investments

Sandra Bourbon has shown through her investments in her project The Future Feminist, that companies that work actively with diversity and equality financially outperform those who don’t. Her stock portfolio, which only invests in companies that have a 60/40 split in top management, have increased by 60%+ since 2015, compared to the OMXS30 which has decreased by -7% in the same period. In a recent study by Swell Investing the vast majority of Gen Z investors aged 18-24 years (84%) state that social issues impact or will impact their investments decisions, further underlining the importance for companies to ensure high quality sustainability efforts if they want to remain relevant for investors.

If equality and diversity are opportunities, where are the risks?

The study Sustainable Business Outlook conducted by Allies and Centigo in 2017/2018, shows that Swedish companies and organizations take a risk-based perspective on their efforts regarding human rights, labour conditions, anti-corruption and business ethics. Clearly these are areas that many organizations around the world find challenging, and that the level of maturity, when it comes to sustainability, of the participants in our study has not gone come further than seeing these issues from a compliance- driven perspective.

Non-listed companies stand out from the crowd

One of the participating categories stands out, namely the non-listed companies. The way that they stand out is that they see their efforts in labour conditions mainly from an opportunity-based perspective. It would be very interesting to see if the same positive relationship between diversity and equality and financial performance that Sandra Bourbon and other investors have seen could also be found between organizations that take an opportunity based perspective on for instance human rights or business ethics, and financial performance.

How far have companies and organizations come with integrating sustainability?

In the Sustainable Business Outlook more than 100 of Sweden’s largest companies and organizations participated. We wanted to find out how business and operational models have been adapted to meet global sustainability challenges according to international guidelines for sustainable businesses. More than 100 of Sweden’s largest companies and organizations participated. Instead of dividing the participants by industry we have looked at them through a different perspective, namely analyzing them based on their ownership structure. The study consists of the result from a self-assessment study. The following main areas of an organization’s sustainability efforts were included:

  • Sustainability leadership
  • Business approach to sustainability
  • Main-stream integration of sustainability issues

 

Download a summary of the Sustainable Business Outlook

 

How does your organization compare?

Are you interested in how your organization compares to the participants in the Sustainable Business Outlook in terms of equality, diversity and 5 other sustainability perspectives? Take our survey and we will get back to you with the result!

 Take the Sustainable Business Outlook Survey here

Want to find out more?

Contact Erik Wottrich

 

The Sustainable Business Outlook was conducted in 2017/2018 by Allies and Centigo in cooperation with our partners Sustainable Innovation, RISE, Global Utmaning and Förebildsföretaget. Daniel Steinholtz (daniel@allies.se) was the responsible partner and Erik Wottrich (erik.wottrich@centigo.se) the project manager.

Tags: Sustainable_business Hållbarhet Sustainability