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Calvert commits to further actions to address racial inequality

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By John StreurPresident and CEO, Calvert Research and Management

Washington - Calvert Research and Management (Calvert) commits to ongoing action to achieve racial equity. As long-term investors, we believe that systemic racism not only offends human dignity, but also damages the economy on which our investment returns depend.

The murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others, recently witnessed by the world over social media, brought the daily-lived experience of black people and other people of color to the broadest possible audience. At a time when COVID-19 has exposed the broader racial inequalities facing our society, these demonstrations of pervasive cultural racism and police brutality have catalyzed an international movement calling for the end of a culture of white supremacy and the demilitarization of police. We believe that public companies and investors need to recognize that these demands are both long overdue and also represent what will be durable changes in societal expectations regarding race in the US and throughout the world.

Calvert stands with protesters and opposes violent or anti-democratic responses to peaceful demonstrations. We accept our responsibility to contribute to the dismantling of racist structures through our investments, our engagement in the marketplace and in how we manage our company. We are committed to conducting research to investigate the financial materiality of corporations' exposure to racism and inequality, to sharing our work with all investors to broaden the integration of this knowledge into investment decisions and to using the information promptly in corporate engagement.

Systemic racism, including racial inequities throughout the criminal justice system, has deep roots in our society and perpetuates economic inequalities, hampering the development and prosperity of black communities.

We believe that existing efforts to promote diversity, while welcome and helpful, have been insufficient and more will be demanded of society's institutions, including governments, companies and investors. Because of the growing visibility of ongoing injustices suffered by the black community, we do not believe that a return to the status quo is possible or desirable.

Calvert has a long history of support for equality and diversity in our investment and engagement approaches, but these times compel us to reflect on and renew our commitment to racial justice, as it is financially material in investment outcomes. For these reasons, we commit to the following course of action:

  1. We commit to improving our ability to amplify the voices of black people, communities and organizations in our research and engagement to allow our perspective to be better informed by their experiences, knowledge and expertise.
  2. We commit to creating a more fully inclusive environment within our own organization, above and beyond our hiring practices. While we will continue our long-term commitment to removing existing barriers to hiring and promoting a diverse workforce, we will also increase our emphasis on pay equity, better understand how we can support our black workforce in their professional lives, and development and assure that diverse voices are being heard.
  3. We commit to the continual improvement in our ability to integrate consideration of racial equity into our investment processes and to understand how ongoing evolution in attitudes toward racial justice matters for company financial risk and performance. We will consider divestment of companies whose business practices create financial risk through the reinforcement of systemic racism, directly or indirectly.
  4. In our engagements with companies, we will forcefully call on companies to incorporate diversity into all phases of governance, strategy and business planning, eliminate business practices that support or perpetuate racism, and increase transparency in their efforts to promote diversity.
  5. We will use our voice as an investor to promote anti-racist public policy. This includes bringing the attention of policymakers to the racial dimensions of diverse issues that investors frequently comment on, such as ESG reporting, climate change and shareholder rights in addition to advocating more directly for racial equality and diversity. We will support calls by many others to end racist and violent policing practices. This work will be presented within our framework of financial materiality.

The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Eaton Vance disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Eaton Vance are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Eaton Vance strategy. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness.