Den här sidan finns tyvärr inte på svenska.

Stanna kvar på sidan | Gå till en relaterad sida på svenska

30-05-2022 09:16

The power of investors to impact diversity and inclusion

What can companies and investors do to support diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their own business and influence others in the corporate world? We sat down with some of Denmark’s top leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the S in ESG.
Lene Skole, CEO of the Lundbeck Foundation, Ole Buhl, Head of ESG at ATP, and Henriette Wennicke, Head of Investor Relations & Treasury at GN, Christina Gadeberg, Nordea
Lene Skole, CEO of the Lundbeck Foundation, Henriette Wennicke, Head of Investor Relations & Treasury at GN, Ole Buhl, Head of ESG at ATP and Christina Gadeberg, Nordea’s Chief People Officer discussed diversity and inclusion as part of Nordea’s celebration of Diversity Month.

Nordea’s Danish headquarters opened its doors to some of the nation’s top business leaders on Tuesday 24 May: Lene Skole, CEO of the Lundbeck Foundation, Ole Buhl, Head of ESG at ATP, and Henriette Wennicke, Head of Investor Relations & Treasury at GN.

They joined Nordea’s Chief People Officer, Christina Gadeberg, for a deep dive into the vitally important – and highly complex – topic of diversity and inclusion as part of Nordea’s celebration of Diversity Month.

The role of the investor

The hour-long panel dialogue focused on the role of the investor, and how much money talks when it comes to D&I challenges.

ATP invests in a wide range of companies collectively worth many billions of Danish kroner, and Ole Buhl described how they exert their investment power via active ownership – in dialogues and by voting at annual general meetings:

“We are looking at four numbers when it comes to the gender split: those for the workforce, lower management, senior management and the supervisory board. And what I find surprising is that we don’t have as many issues at the top as at the bottom – and that goes across our investments. In all countries, we see that the challenge for women is to get their first leadership job. And that’s where we’re most keen on pushing things.”

More on the panellists

  • Lene Skole is the CEO of the Lundbeck Foundation, one of Denmark’s largest business foundations, focusing on brain health and research. She sits on numerous boards, including those of Falck, Lundbeck, Ørsted and Nordea. 
  • Ole Buhl is Head of ESG and Senior Vice President at ATP, Denmark’s largest pension fund, which is 100% publicly owned. ATP’s role is to grow people’s savings by making long-term investments, both at home and abroad, with a heavy focus on sustainability. 
  • Henriette Wennicke is Head of Investor Relations & Treasury at audio technology company GN, which produces hearing, audio, video and gaming solutions sold throughout the world. 
  • Christina Gadeberg is Nordea’s Chief People Officer and Head of Group People. As such, she is responsible for Nordea’s D&I agenda, recruitment and succession pipeline, among many other things. 

Sometimes diversity suffers

As a board member of several multinational companies, including some where the Lundbeck Foundation is the main investor, Lene Skole spoke of the need to push the D&I agenda on boards –  despite an in-built dilemma:

“I know the right thing to do from a diversity point of view, but when I’m actually in the situation where I have to choose a new board member, in the end I pick the one that has the best fit. And sometimes diversity suffers because of that.”

Lene Skole added that the Foundation was currently working on developing a model whereby newly started investee companies could consider D&I – and indeed the whole ESG dimension – already from conception. 

A culture of inclusion

Nordea set a target last year for each gender to have at least 40 percent representation at the top three leadership levels combined by the end of 2025.

“We want to bring in the diversity and inclusion agenda when we hire, promote and set up a team – making it a natural part of those processes, and in general in our actions and thinking. We don’t want this to be a HR-driven activity, so we’ve put a lot of effort into mobilising and activating the organisation – and now we’re seeing results coming in,” commented Christina Gadeberg.

For GN, an innovation company relying heavily on the engineering workforce, building a pipeline of diverse talent taking on leadership positions starts very early.

“You need to start already when recruiting – to ensure that the workforce at large is diverse – and then nominate and promote women at every level. Being in a male-dominated field, this is something we need to work on every day,” explained Henriette Wennicke. She also highlighted that GN was now taking D&I to the next level by focusing on the inclusiveness agenda together with all leaders in the company.

As she summarised it, “you can hire a diverse workforce but you also need them to stay on – and that requires a culture of inclusion.”

About us