We are proud of the different partnerships we have with community foundations: both as an investment manager providing responsible investment solutions, and as a charitable giving partner working with the London Community Foundation to create our Community Investment Fund.
What is EdenTree doing as a business to address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion?
As pioneers in responsible and sustainable investing, launching one of the first ethical equity funds available in the UK in 1988, EdenTree has always taken pride in ‘leading the way’. Our approach to ethics, culture, values, diversity, and inclusion is no exception. For over 30 years, EdenTree has adopted rigorous standards in vetting the Ethics, Corporate Governance and People Practices of the businesses we invest in; holding those businesses to account. We apply those same rigorous standards to ourselves and are proud of our innovative, collaborative and diverse team. Our business, our colleagues and our clients benefit significantly from the diversity of thought, experience, perspective and approach which every colleague brings to our business. Inclusion is, and has always been, one of EdenTree’s core values.
We are proud to be part of, and contribute to, the following initiatives looking to drive real change in our industry: 10,000 Black Interns, GAIN – Girls Are Investors, KickStart, Women in Finance Charter and #whogetsahead. EdenTree also has a long tenure of working alongside the Business Partnership division of Tower Hamlets Borough Council, which aims to provide work experience opportunities and access to career information to students aged 15-17.
How does it influence the way we invest?
As responsible investors we have long been active in promoting strong governance to the companies we invest in. Over time, individually, and as members of the 30% Club, our investment approach has focused on gender diversity given the poor overall levels of female representation at Board level. We were among the first UK investors to implement a global diversity voting policy irrespective of culture or ‘best practice’ which has seen us oppose a rising number of resolutions globally around Board diversity especially in markets such as Japan where female representation remains very poor.
In addition, we take diversity at all levels of the business into account as part of our screening process. We have regularly engaged with companies around diversity issues such as gender, ethnicity and cultural background. We also seek to ensure companies are inclusive, non-discriminatory, and positive places to work, and in the event of any reported controversies around discrimination we would seek to engage with the company concerned.
We are cognisant of the importance of the UK Parker Review which notes how much work there is still to do to ensure true equality at senior levels and to meet the ‘one by 2021’ target set in 2017 of having at least one director from an ethnic minority background. As a member of the 30% Club’s Ethnic Diversity Working Group, we will be setting out our expectations in a statement later this year to FTSE350 companies encouraging them to exceed the targets set.
How does it influence the way we give?
Community giving is at the heart of EdenTree’s ‘Performance with Principles’ ethos which is why, in 2017, we decided to partner with The London Community Foundation to make an impact in marginalised communities local to our London office, launching the EdenTree Community Investment Fund.
Through our partnership and London Community Foundation’s local reach, we have been able to support grassroots organisations in improving the lives of the most disadvantaged in London. We have also been able to monitor the impact we have made since the fund launched. Overall, 11,307 people benefitted from the support our grants provided.
We look forward to speaking with UKCF’s members in the network’s upcoming ‘Together21’ internal online convention, which will be focused on EDI.
If you or your business would like to be a part of local giving on a national scale, then please get in touch with Jon Everett.
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