Like so many people across the United States, we are deeply saddened by the horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor as well as countless other Black Americans. These murders are painful reminders that racism and social injustice remain prevalent in our society. We wish to lend our voices in support of those protesting these egregious and senseless acts and actively seeking change, justice, and equality. We recognize the collective failures of our society to acknowledge and address these systemic problems, thereby allowing racial discrimination, unfair treatment, and oppression to continue for generations.
We aim to sustain and build upon Boston Trust Walden’s long, proud history and leadership in confronting social injustice through shareholder engagement on behalf of our clients. Beginning in the 1970s, Boston Trust Walden was active and successful in anti-apartheid efforts. We were the only investment management firm to testify before the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission in 1994 (we recommended requiring disclosure of workforce diversity data). Boston Trust Walden’s ESG team has for decades engaged companies on making their workplaces and boards more diverse and inclusive.
We renew our call to all companies to disclose data on the demographic composition of their workforce and management, so that investors and other stakeholders can measure progress over time. And we call on all public companies to be explicit in their commitment to consider diverse candidate pools as part of their board director nomination policies. Too few have done so already.
Yet, so much work remains undone—for investors and for society. It is not enough for corporations to put in place diversity, inclusion, and equality initiatives; much more is required to dismantle systemic racism. We need open and frank discussions on racial discrimination, unconscious biases, and social injustice. These conversations may be uncomfortable—in fact they should be—otherwise we cannot achieve true change.
We call on political and corporate leaders to lead better, to inspire, to collaborate, and to bring us together rather than divide us—and simply, to do more. Past leaders, including our presidents, legislators, city officials, police chiefs, and corporate CEOs, have largely failed. The current protests sweeping the nation are the outcries of citizens of all ages and races demanding systemic change and recognizing that Black Lives Matter! We are hopeful the result will be substantive and meaningful change.
Lastly, we are challenging ourselves and our colleagues at Boston Trust Walden. We too must improve. We are determined that a key element of fostering a positive workplace is the continued pursuit of diversity and inclusion. We must ensure we have a diverse pool of candidates in our hiring and promotion practices. We remain committed to achieving this objective, and we will continue to measure and report on our progress annually. In this spirit, we intend to promote dialogue with our colleagues, to listen, to learn, to reflect, and to change. We will continue to stand in solidarity with Black colleagues and other colleagues of color.
The US cannot afford to continue to ignore systemic racism. We must join together in the pursuit of achieving real change and affirming inalienable human and civil rights for all. We hope that everyone will join us in these efforts.