Global Women salutes revised NZX stance on diverse governance

Global Women salutes revised NZX stance on diverse governance

Written by Global Women, 10.05.17

Media Release: 10 May 2017

Diversity champion Global Women is delighted with the NZX revised diversity reporting guidelines announced today as part of the NZX Corporate Governance Code. NZX-listed companies are now required to have a diversity policy with measurable objectives and report against these or provide an explanation if they do not.. This is a great next step towards having more robust drivers of diversity.

This policy is a welcome shift from the previous reporting requirements which simply “encouraged [issuers] to adopt and implement a diversity policy”..

“We welcome any change that requires measurable objectives around diversity in the absence of a coherent explanation as to “why not”. Companies who previously put diversity in the ‘too-hard basket’ and did nothing will now be held to account under these new NZX rules,” says Global Women Deputy Chair, Joan Withers.

These revised regulations align to the ASX’s ‘if not, why not’ diversity policy regime. Since these reporting requirements were introduced in Australia, the number of women on boards has increased by 47% (from 15% in 2012 to 22% in 2015) and the number of women in senior management positions has increased by 30% (from 20% in 2012 to 26% in 2015). Impressively, 99% of ASX200 companies now have a diversity policy.

“These changes will lead directly to more listed companies establishing diversity metrics – including gender, but also hopefully extending to address areas such as equal pay, and flexible working arrangements” says Withers.

“Measurable objectives lead to greater diversity; greater diversity leads to better business outcomes – delivering to the bottom line through improved productivity, profitability and performance; better growth, innovation and customer service; and an enviable ‘employer of choice’ reputational standing. We are delighted that clear and visible diversity reporting guidelines have now been set for NZX-listed companies.”

Withers says the changes announced largely reflect the recommendations in Global Women’s submission on the review of the NZX Corporate Governance Code. These recommendations included requiring NZX-listed companies to adopt a diversity policy, establish measurable objectives for achieving appropriate diversity and report on their progress against these objectives.

“We congratulate the NZX for their leadership in driving positive change in corporate governance and encouraging diversity and inclusion in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Withers.