There has been extensive coverage as to the number of new loans issued being tied to ESG factors, namely greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability, but there is a new dimension as to which companies are securing funding—gender equity. Many companies are signing loans that are tied to increasing women’s share of a company’s workforce from entry-level jobs all the way to executive and board positions. BloombergNEF estimates that these loans make up $19 billion of the market this year, already more than quadrupling 2020’s numbers. Companies improving diversity have better retention, collaboration, decision-making, and a broader talent pool according Tania Smith, leader of a bank authorizing these new loans. If companies fail to meet the diversity criteria they can face interest rate penalties much like the ESG market. Gender equity and diversity loans are a fraction of the total ESG market of $231 billion, yet they are a quick growing segment that will aim to improve gender equity in the corporate world.
FINSUM: This gives companies a new avenue to secure credit at a discount, much like ESG. If companies meet this criterion they can have an edge over competitors in terms of rates and access.