But diversity doesn’t just mean having one woman at the table — like many inspirational advertisements might make it seem. Diversity in the workplace means having an equitable team with differing perspectives and a continuous effort in eliminating systemic barriers.
Investment fund Vanguard writes that “we believe that diversity of thought and perspective, fuelled by a broad range of experience and personal characteristics, positions the board to serve our clients’ long-term best interests.” At first glance — this looks great! Finally — a team that actually cares about diversity.
But what are their actual practices and policies? That’s where real change happens. With a management team that’s 83% white and 75% male, they still have a long way to go. Statements are a great start, but it’s nothing without accountability. And that’s where impact investing comes in. We can hold corporations accountable for their impact by choosing where to put our money.
The real benefit of board diversity reaches beyond simply a financially sustainable and socially sound investment of today: supporting diversity allows the voices of tomorrow to see themselves represented at the tables where influential decisions are made.
To cement a cycle that prioritizes a wide variety of perspectives, knowledge, and experiences, those who can supply their individual ideas and opinions must be attracted to a company. Representation and inclusion will help to pave the way for stronger business structures and strategies of the future.
Passing business strategies and ideas around only those with similar perspectives creates an echo chamber. Broadly put, if the life experiences of high-level employees parallel each other, these strategies will only be tested against a similar set of opinions, comments, and queries.
As two sisters who founded Arnie together, our life experiences are the epitome of parallel. It’s something we love, but also are very conscious of the blindness we know we have. As a new company we are constantly trying to push ourselves to place equity at the front. And just as we hold Vanguard accountable, we hope our own customers will do the same to us.
We continue to grow our team with an intentional mindset of gaining new, and differing, perspectives. That doesn’t mean that we’re perfect or that we will ever be perfect. But we are continuously learning and ready to help others invest their money with this in mind.
Join us in holding ourselves and all companies accountable! Learn more about Arnie and how you can get on our early sign up list here.
Let’s go even deeper. Beyond their corporate structures, what other impact are companeis having?
And oh also, just a quick question, why is Vanguard invested in structures that disproportionately negatively affect marginalized folks? Let’s take a look….
- $26.26bn invested in military weapons
- $5.0bbn invested in civilian firearms
- $16.86bn invested in tobacco and tobacco-promoting companies
- $119.63bn invested in prison industrial complexes
- 15.44% invested in deforestation-risk companies
Well yikes — this is awkward. Not a good look. Guess that ‘whole commitment to diversity’ spiel was just a tiny lie.