More women on a company's corporate board of directors correlates with its sustainability performance, according to a recent report.
Corporate responsibility consultant Kellie McElhaney's report, "Women Create a Sustainable Future," found that companies with one or more women on their boards are more likely to have improved sustainability practices.
"The presence of women shapes business from the inside-out and outside-in, from the MBA training grounds to consumer to managerial levels," according to the report. "Though beyond the scope of this paper, numerous studies have demonstrated women have proved to be more aligned with and desirous of corporate sustainability as MBA students, employees, consumers and investors."
From an environmental standpoint, according to some of the findings, companies with more women on their boards are more likely to:
- Reduce the environmental impact of their packaging, including use of recycled content material and establishment of take-back and recycling programs.
- Invest in renewable power generation and related services.
- Measure and reduce carbon emissions of their products throughout the value chain and implement programs with their suppliers to reduce carbon footprint.
- Address the environmental risks embedded in their financing decisions.
McElhaney and Sanaz Mobasseri, a PhD candidate at the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business and the report's co-author, investigated corporate performance of more than 1,500 companies across three main categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG).
McElhaney also is the founder of the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business.