The Public Sector Pension Investment Board is becoming a signatory on a diversity, equity and inclusion pledge.

The pension fund joined 179 investment organizations in signing the Diversity in Action Initiative from the Institutional Limited Partners Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the interests of limited partner sponsors. Since its launch earlier this year, 11 other Canadian organizations, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, have signed the initiative.

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Signatories of the pledge, which was first released in April, must be either general or limited partner sponsors and manage private investment funds. It’s an acknowledgement of an organization’s commitment to taking concrete steps to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within its organization and in the businesses it invests in.

To become an accepted signatory, organizations must demonstrate that they’ve met a number of DEI-related criteria. This includes: having a pre-existing statement on diversity and inclusion, an internal tracking system gathering information on the race and gender of employees receiving promotions; and a set of published goals for making recruitment and retention more inclusive.

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Signatories must also demonstrate that they’ve taken at least two actions included in a secondary list, which includes: having DEI accountability vested in a senior investor or senior management figure; providing support for efforts to educate underrepresented groups about careers in private markets; and supporting research on DEI issues in the workplace.

In its most recent quarterly update, the Diversity in Action Initiative released figures about the strides being made by its signatories in these areas. In its analysis of the data, the pledge organizers noted that organizational size appears to play a significant role in how companies prioritize DEI strategies.

About 88 per cent of signatories with market caps above US$10 billion provide unconscious bias training to employees, while just 38 per cent of signatories with market caps below US$2 billion do the same. In addition, 80 per cent of small cap signatories track gender, race and ethnicity statistics within partner organizations, with just 43 per cent of large cap businesses saying they do so.

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