Calvert Women’s Principles – Alya Kayal speaks on Socially Responsible Investing

21 Dec 2010 by Lewis, View Comments

When the investment community recognizes the value of reviewing and investing in companies who support women as a category of socially responsible firms, it is a good indicator that a larger global shift has occurred. While it may seem that Conscious business is the topic de jour, the history of the SRI (socially responsibility index) in the United States is actually quite long. In fact, it was the Quakers who first forbid their congregation from investing in the sale of humans – thus prohibiting slave trade.

It is remarkable to think that over 300 years later, we are still in the practice of human trafficking in our world. Oftentimes, global industries support this practice by looking the other way as their foreign suppliers utilize cheap labor from “unfree labor” or debt slavery. (Perhaps we will address this issue in more depth with a future WSWnow interview. I would love to dive into this topic in more detail – so send me any contacts we should interview).

I recently learn a bit more about how U.S. based investment firms, such as Calvert Investment Group, are making conscious use of their shareholder dollars a larger part of their philosophy and practice from Alya Kayal, VP of Sustainability Research at CIG.

In 2004, Calvert, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Fund for Women, developed the first global voluntary code of conduct guiding business on how to empower, advance, and invest in women worldwide. The Calvert Women’s Principles bring together a variety of ways in which business can contribute to the advancement of women. They are:

1. Employment and Compensation
2. Work-life Balance and Career Development
3. Health, Safety and Freedom from Violence
4. Management and Governance
5. Business, Supply Chain and Marketing Practices
6. Civic and Community Engagement
7. Transparency and Accountability

You can learn more about each of the 7 Core Principles here

My dear friend Stephanie Armistead, founder of Green Business Works, invited me to meet with Alya when she was in Atlanta last month as keynote speaker for the GBW Expo. The following interview was conducted that day. From Alya, I learned much about Calvert’s leadership role in the field of bringing women safely and profitably into the world economy as a goal of smart and responsible investors. She is a heartfelt, smart woman who truly knows the role of women in creating longer term sustainable companies who are part of a global solution, rather than exploiting or suppressing women for shorter term financial gain. This thoughtful approach to global investment is very much in line with the conversation we had with Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund in October.

VIDEO 1: Calvert Women’s Principles

VIDEO 2: Women and Social Responsibility Index (SRI)

VIDEO 3: Investing In Women

I look forward, as always, to hearing back from you all. Many thanks for your continued support of this site and the interviews.

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