IBM Proxy Speech

On April 27, 2021, 94.3% of investors supported Nia’s request that IBM release data on the effectiveness of the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. The Board agreed to this request.

Nia will continue to support IBM’s increased transparency of material DEI metrics and calls for it to expand its current reporting to include the promotion and retention rates of its diverse employees.

Transcript:

Hello, I am Dr. Kristin Hull, Founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital.

At Nia, we seek to generate a competitive rate of return, while creating a positive impact for investors, our planet and our communities. To that end, we engage with our portfolio holdings, encouraging improvements on material social and environmental topics in order to strengthen long-term performance.

 

I formally move item 6, which requests that IBM publish a report assessing its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. 

We want to thank IBM's Board for its support of this resolution and its agreement to report on its:

- process for assessing the effectiveness of IBM’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs, and

- its assessment of program effectiveness, as reflected in goals, metrics, and trends related to the recruitment, retention and promotion rates of employees.

 

IBM's support of this request provides us, as investors, with comfort that IBM not only understands the business imperative to address diversity, equity and inclusion,

 it is also taking seriously the building of its own internal programs, oversight systems and accountability mechanisms. 

 

This month, IBM released its 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Report. In it, they describe some of the innovative and inspired actions they are taking to support diverse communities. Including efforts to build ethics into AI at the earliest stages, offering neurodiversity training to employees, and actively pushing for criminal justice reform.

 

The report is a clear step forward in providing meaningful data and workplace equity transparency to investors. Not only will IBM be releasing its EEO-1 form after the spinout of Kyndryl, it has shared its hiring percentages by gender, race and ethnicity, and its female promotion rate.

 

What IBM has published is a good start.  

 

And as IBM recognizes, there is more to do.

 

We are calling on IBM to lead when it comes to workplace transparency. Promotion and retention data for all groups is still needed.  

A company with strong and equitable workplace practices will have no hesitation in sharing its retention data

 

Over the next year we will work with IBM on benchmarking its progress, and to encourage its release of what is missing from this report.

Today, we celebrate IBMs commitment to improve its reporting. Transparency, even in the face of imperfection, shows a company's true commitment to change as well as its commitment to its employees,  community and  investors- In its efforts to build the positive and inclusive company culture needed for today.  Thank you.

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