Sustainable Investment Awards 2022

Thought leadership paper on sustainable investing, Asia: Fidelity International

Focusing on gender diversity and policy in China’s largest companies, Fidelity International’s The Smaller Half of China’s Sky paper highlights how women today remain on the periphery of company boards and top management in the country.

The report consists of three parts:

  • Where China stands on gender diversity and what actions policymakers are taking.
  • The gender policies and practices of the members of China’s A50 stock index.
  • Recommendations for both companies and investors on how to boost gender diversity.

Fidelity conducted the report by reviewing annual reports, sustainability reports, and the websites of companies listed on the China A50 index – the components of which are from the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange – to distil what, if any, gender policies or measures they have put in place.

In addition, Fidelity is promoting gender diversity in China and has updated its global voting policy to align with its expectations of board gender diversity. The asset manager no longer supports the re-election of relevant directors if the board fails to meet its minimum diversity threshold. For emerging markets such as China, Fidelity votes against boards where women hold fewer than 15% of seats. This led to it voting against resolutions proposed by 50 companies on the grounds of low female participation, it said.

“As the findings from our ground-breaking report on China gender diversity make clear, engaging with Chinese companies to advocate for greater diversity is just one area where Fidelity International seeks to leverage our global expertise as sustainable investors to make a real-world impact,” said Flora Wang, director of sustainable investing and portfolio managerat Fidelity International.

The paper was picked up by Chinese media outlets Xinhua, Jiemian, Yicai, Sina and Tencent, with the former’s article attracting 300,000 online views within 24 hours of publication, according to figures shared by Fidelity.