Diversity: Mirova believes in the ability of finance to bring change

Thursday, 4 april 2019

The Natixis Investment Managers asset management affiliate specialized in sustainable investment has just launched a themed equity fund focusing on investing in companies facilitating women’s access to management positions.

An asset manager with convictions and a specialist in sustainable investment, Mirova has always focused on managing funds combining performance and positive social and environmental impacts. Two of the most emblematic funds it manages are the Mirova Europe Environmental Equity Fund and the Insertion Emplois Dynamique fund. Mirova is now starting to attack the issue of diversity in companies. Why now?

“Because the problem we had with social criteria a few years ago was the difficulty in obtaining data to measure diversity and to show the relationship between social criteria and performance. Well we now have better access to data on diversity in companies and there is now a consensus on the correlation between the two factors”, explains Soliane Varlet, equity manager, whose responsibilities include managing the new fund and euros strategies at Mirova. Though better taken into account than in the past, “gender equality remains a real subject”, adds Mathilde Dufour, in charge of Mirova’s responsible investment research team that helps fund managers consider environmental and social impacts when selecting and managing their funds. This is also one of the UN’s sustainable development objectives.

“Inequalities persist, whether in terms of access to employment, the quality of that employment (more precarious jobs, more part-time employment among women), career paths or wage levels”, she goes on to say. “In our investment sphere, all these inequalities are crystalized by the progress made by women within companies, and the so-called “glass ceiling”, the barrier that prevents women from rising to the highest echelons of their company.”

And highly surprisingly, according to Mirova, only 5% of the CEOs of companies in the MSCI World index – the benchmark index for the Mirova Women Leaders Equity fund – are actually women! Women account for 13% of executive committee members, 30% of middle management and 36% of total headcount. After applying quantitative and qualitative filters, the investment universe comprises 240 stocks and is global – too few firms fulfil the selection criteria to set up a European fund…

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