Bloomberg has created a sector-neutral gender equality index to help investors better identify and invest in companies that align with ESG values, with NAB, Westpac and ANZ included in its ranks.
Bloomberg has expanded upon the financial services gender equality index it launched in 2016 to create a new index that effectively measures gender equality of companies across all sectors.
The new index is being used by investors as a “reference tool” to inform investment strategies, allow clients to compare and understand a company’s approach to gender equality and better “mitigate operational risks and maintain corporate competitiveness”, said Bloomberg in a statement.
“We developed the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index (BGEI) to disclose and standardise social and governance statistics in the gender-equality space, recognising that our clients are increasingly reliant on environmental, social, governance and other information to evaluate company reputation, value and performance,” it said.
“We encourage our users to look to the gender equality index as a resource to identify companies that are leaders in the gender-equality space.
“And, as yield becomes more difficult and investors continue to focus on risk-aware alpha, the demand for ESG data like the BGEI continues to grow.”
There are 104 companies across 24 countries and regions included in the 2018 index, double the amount from the 2017 financial services gender inequality index (52 financial firms).
Companies on the index are from a range of sectors, such as communications, consumer staples, consumer discretionary, energy, materials, healthcare, real estate and technology.
Nineteen of the 104 companies are from the Asia-Pacific region, with six of the 19 from Australia, most of which were from the financial sector.
Australian companies included in the index were Westpac, ANZ, NAB, QBE Insurance Group, Fortescue Metals Group and Bank of Queensland.
To be eligible to be included in the index, companies had to be “within the Bloomberg ESG coverage universe with a market capitalisation of US$1 billion or greater and at least one security trading on a US exchange”, the statement said.
The company selection process involved a “comprehensive survey” to be completed by the company that measured workforce gender statistics (including a breakdown of the genders of the board, executives and management), company policies, products and community engagement.
Bloomberg deputy chief of staff to the chairman Kiersten Barnet said investors were continuing to seek more information on companies’ approaches to ESG factors.
“The 2018 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index allows investors to compare companies' commitments to gender equality across industries,” she said.
"More data and greater transparency in this space will allow investors to make better-informed decisions and help companies better understand their own progress towards gender equality."
Bloomberg chairman and founding chairman of the US chapter of the 30% Club Peter Grauer commended the companies included on the index for their efforts to create a workplace that supported gender equality.
“Their leadership sets an important example that will help all organisations innovate and navigate the growing demand for diverse and inclusive workplaces,” he said.