Racism Is an ESG Problem, Says Calvert CEO

The leader of the responsible investing group said investors must demand actionable outcomes from businesses.

American businesses have a responsibility to end racism in their companies, says John Streur, chief executive of responsible investing firm Calvert. To start, the longtime ESG leader said his company will call on businesses to publicly disclose the racial makeup of their employees. 

“As CEO of Calvert and a part of the system, I recognize that much more needs to be done,” Streur said Tuesday in a blog post. “More open and forceful action is required by investors and by corporate leaders and boards.” 

Companies are not required by law to provide information on racial demographics to their investors. But Streur said the disclosures, as well as information on pay equity across race and gender, are long overdue. 

Additionally, businesses should also demand local, state, and federal governments to address police brutality, Streur said, as well as take action to make a quality education for equal employment accessible to black Americans. 

“We need information from companies about the outcomes they are achieving, not only the values they espouse, and it is our duty as shareholders to hold them accountable for inaction,” Streur wrote. As of last year, Calvert managed $21.5 billion in assets. 

The Calvert leader made his remarks addressing racial inequality as thousands of Americans have recently taken to the streets to protest police brutality after George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, was killed last week when a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. 

“What good is it to live in a prosperous country when our police forces routinely kill black people?” Streur wrote. 

The responsible investing firm first made its name in 1982 when it created the first mutual fund that opposed apartheid in South Africa. In 1986, it was also the first investment firm to sponsor a shareholder resolution connected to a social issue. 

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