Perennial scrutinises gender diversity of holdings

Gender diversity on boards is the target of environmental, social and governance (ESG) engagement for Perennial in December.

In the firm’s latest investment update for its Better Future Trust, it said much engagement activity had been spent on targeting gender diversity at firms.

The trust aimed to invest in companies that conducted their business while taking ESG considerations into account and make a positive contribution to creating a better future.

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Activity included contacting all companies which had yet to reach the target of 30% women on their boards of directors and Perennial said it received “positive and engaged” responses from 70% of those contacted firms.

Of the five companies held in the trust’s top largest holdings, only retailer Kathmandu had failed to reach the 30% gender diversity target on its board, it currently stood at 28% with two women on the seven-strong board.

“We expect to see improved outcomes in the coming 12 months. Some positive examples included Calix and Alpha HPA, each of which indicated they are actively looking to improve gender diversity across both their boards and the broader business,” it said.

The firm also had ESG discussion with property group Charter Hall Group, where it reduced its position following strong performance.

“We had a sustainability meeting with Charter Hall in which we discussed the approach of the company and Charter Hall Social Infrastructure REIT to ESG and sustainability, including carbon emissions and TCFD reporting, SDGs, corporate governance, modern slavery, diversity and gender pay gaps,” Perennial said.

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