Boston Common Asset Management is planning to confront banks and real estate investors as an eviction crisis looms across the U.S., one that's likely to disproportionately impact Black Americans and other minorities.
Geeta Aiyer, founder of the $2.7 billion firm, said she will renew pressure on nine global companies (which she declined to name) to better combat racial inequity within their ranks, products and services — and to boost transparency when it comes to lobbying.
The new plan comes at a time when the double whammy of the coronavirus pandemic and protests against racial injustice have catapulted the 'S' in ESG to the forefront.
The 62-year-old has been taking the world of business and finance to task for its role in systemic racism for longer than most. The move follows a victory against a very prominent symbol of racial discrimination. Ms. Aiyer's firm — along with other investors and advocacy groups — had been pressing shipping giant FedEx Corp. to end its relationship with the National Football League's Washington Redskins because of the team's racially inflammatory name.
FedEx finally gave in, saying it would remove its signage from the team's stadium unless it dropped "Redskins." The team soon complied.
"There comes a tipping point when, after a company has been fighting you, they suddenly let go because it becomes obvious to them that it's not worth continuing the fight,'' Ms. Aiyer said. "That's how we win.''