We believe that more diverse and inclusive teams lead to stronger decisions and results. As expectations around ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace expand to include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, abilities and other characteristics, we use our influence to create positive change for employees, companies and industries.
Exercising our proxy votes helps us lobby for better DE&I practices among publicly traded companies in which we have an ownership interest. For example, we use our votes to push for greater disclosure related to issues such as equal pay, human rights and race. We also encourage companies to use self-disclosure to show their commitment and progress towards building boards that are diverse beyond gender and include other underrepresented groups.
In 2021, the number of shareholder proposals we voted on in the U.S. market relating to workforce diversity doubled, with a significant number receiving majority shareholder support1. We also saw a marked shift in DE&I-related shareholder proposals toward equity inclusion, particularly to address disparities between people involving race or ethnicity, gender, and 2SLGBTQ+ identity.
When it comes to promoting greater DE&I, it is important for us to align our organizational efforts with what we are doing externally. As part of our own DE&I journey, we take an intersectional and holistic approach to diversity and expand beyond gender, without leaving it aside. We engaged a third-party organization (EDGE) to identify our strengths and areas for improvement on topics such as policies, pay equity, education, values, management commitment, and more.
“Diverse teams and an inclusive environment are fundamental for stronger decisions and results. We expect boards and companies to develop equity-based plans that enhance diversity. These plans should be integrated into policies, practices and processes such as hiring and facilitating the upward mobility of people from diverse backgrounds. backgrounds.
Stephen McLennan, Executive Managing Director, Total Fund Management
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan