The threat of ‘taking our business elsewhere’ and the fear of losing profits has, in the past, been something that kept business from being too supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees or too vocal about it. But a study from Credit Susie reported in the New Republic confirms something that many of us already suspected. Being supportive and inclusive of the LGBT community does not alienate profits:
To create their own index of LGBT friendly publicly traded companies, Credit Suisse took the 1,500 companies listed in Standard and Poor’s Composite 1500, one of the best known equity indices, and applied a minimum CEI score of 80 to qualify, resulting in 225 companies across all ten S&P industry sectors. After the index was launched, they made a happy discovery: Having pro-LGBT policies does not negatively affect stock performance. The CS LGBT Equality Index has performed inline with the S&P 500 index since its inception in 2002.
“What our research shows is that no penalty exists stock performance of companies who promote LGBT friendly policies,” said Eric Berger, a Credit Suisse relationship manager who runs the Credit Suisse Equality Portfolio. “If you invest in a company that has pro-LGBT policy, not only are you taking a proactive stance in terms of your view on equal rights, but you could ultimately influence corporate behavior.”
Though the Credit Suisse Equality Portfolio is still in its early days, it features such heavyweight companies like Microsoft, Qualcomm, and General Electric. And more importantly, Berger hopes it inspires more socially conscious investing in the LGBT community by helping people see that this kind of investment can work.