Investing with diversity and social impacts in mind Investing with diversity and social impacts in mind Investing with diversity and social impacts in mind

Investing with diversity and social impacts in mind

Investment Theme
Hans Oudshoorn

Summary:  What are the investment opportunities with companies that attach great importance to diversity and social impacts?

Level: Any experience

The past two years have been eventful in many ways. The coronavirus held society in its grip, and social unrest also played a role. Fortunately, there is hope with the upcoming removed restrictions, but even so, this has been a restless year. Besides the fact that many people are "more than a little tired of corona"—and are increasingly expressing this in demonstrations—there is much to be done in the field of inequality. It will be a while yet, but 21 May is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. On this day, the value and necessity of cultural diversity will be highlighted. The subject of mutual acceptance, respect and diversity is also more alive than ever among colleagues, family and friends.

What about investors? I have noticed that they too are paying attention to this highly complex subject. But as befits investors, they also try to think in terms of opportunities. In other words, what are the investment opportunities within companies that attach great importance to diversity and pay attention to people on a social level? With this article, I want to help investors who value this and want to add a positive note to their portfolios.

What is diversity?

Diversity means variety. Diversity can take place within a society, in the form of different ethnic groups, but also within nature. In this article, the word "diversity" is focused on differences in ethnic backgrounds. Policies on diversity want to take those differences into account. In companies and in governments, this is usually reflected in the workforce. The aim is to have as many employees as possible with different nationalities, orientations, genders, ages, disabilities, religious beliefs and (cultural) origins.

The development of increased diversity within the business community is to a large extent caused by the changes in the labour market over the past ten to thirty years. More and more people over 50, women, employees with mental or physical disabilities or people of foreign origin are looking for jobs.

Annual ranking

For years, the well-known American magazine Fortune, together with Great Place To Work®—a specialist in the field of "culture in the workplace"—has been compiling a ranking of the 100 best American companies to work for. Diversity policies and attention to social acceptance are important criteria for companies to be included in the list. Curious about the 2022 overview? Looking at it, you will come across a number of big names, such as Adobe, Cisco, Hilton and Nvidia.

Diversity: an ingredient in (one of) the three Ps

If you zoom in on the companies in the rankings, you will discover that their DNA contains the three Ps. In other words, people, planet and profit. Diversity is also an important ingredient, which falls under the people category.

Additionally, the higher a company scores on the three Ps, the more sustainable it is.


This abbreviation stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. Companies that operate according to these criteria stand for respectful treatment of the planet, animals and fellow human beings, and for good corporate governance. From lower CO2 emissions to the elimination of child labour, all aspects of doing business responsibly are taken into account by ESG-conscious companies.

There are various indices, including the STOXX® Global ESG Leaders, in which well-scoring companies from an ESG perspective are compiled. There is also a ranking of countries based on ESG criteria. Both of these can be helpful resources for making informed investment decisions.

ESG investing: lower profits?

The ESG philosophy is a nice thought, but of course it must yield something to appear inviting to investors. Unfortunately, sustainable investing has a somewhat dull image. In fact, many investors think that they will have lower profits with this investment strategy than with non-sustainable companies.

A Harvard study shows that sustainable investment actually yields more than non-sustainable investment. Their conclusion: the financial results and investment returns were significantly better for companies that had implemented ESG in their corporate strategy and culture.

Build capital while looking out for the environment and society

Of course, you can buy shares in companies like Ebusco, Microsoft or Fastned. Investing in individual shares, however, is generally riskier than spreading your investment across a diversified fund or ETF.

During my search, I came across two effective building blocks for investing with a clear conscience: the UBS MSCI EMU Socially Responsible ETF (ISIN LU0629460675) and the GuardCap Global Equity Fund (EUR) Acc mutual fund (ISIN IE00BZ036616). A key similarity is that both funds invest according to ESG criteria, with a more than above average focus on the social aspects.

The UBS ETF typically holds 50–60 European large-cap stocks (currently including Adidas, Danone and SAP), while the GuardCap ETF typically holds 20–25 global stocks (currently including Essilor, Nike and UnitedHealth Group). The ongoing charges are respectively 0.28% (UBS) and 1% (GuardCap) per year. Both funds are quoted in euros and they are tradable via Saxo on Euronext Amsterdam (UBS) and the mutual fund exchange FundSettle (GuardCap).

The primary objective of the UBS fund is to track the performance of the MSCI EMU NR EUR index. For GuardCap, the goal is to beat the MSCI ACWI Growth NR USD index. UBS succeeds in its task with verve; the GuardCap fund has managed to beat the index over the past five years. Therefore, the UBS ETF scores five stars with Morningstar, and GuardCap scores four. The dividend for UBS, which is around 2.5–3% annually, is usually paid in February and August. The GuardCap fund reinvests the dividend—about 1.25%—automatically (there is no payout variant available). These returns are a nice bonus for funds that do not primarily focus on dividends.

It may come as no surprise, but both funds invest in stocks that score high in terms of sustainable business practices and have a smaller CO2 footprint than their sector peers. Both funds receive five globes for the Morningstar Sustainability Rating™. The Morningstar Analyst Rating™ is also excellent for both funds: Silver for UBS and Gold for GuardCap. Overall, I have rarely seen such ratings in multiple areas.

In terms of investing like a football coach, they are solid midfielders with offensive momentum. There is a currency risk with GuardCap. The fund is quoted in euros, but there are many foreign companies within it.

In a nutshell, the titles are interesting for long-term investors who can and want to bear equity risk. The funds are a good choice for those who want their investments to have a positive impact on the environment and society, with a good emphasis on social impacts.

Would you like to know more? Read here all specs of the UBS ETF or the GuardCap ETF.

Investing carries risks. Your investment may depreciate.


The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (
Full disclaimer (
Full disclaimer (

Saxo Bank A/S (Headquarters)
Philip Heymans Alle 15

Contact Saxo

Select region


Trade responsibly
All trading carries risk. Read more. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. Read more

This website can be accessed worldwide however the information on the website is related to Saxo Bank A/S and is not specific to any entity of Saxo Bank Group. All clients will directly engage with Saxo Bank A/S and all client agreements will be entered into with Saxo Bank A/S and thus governed by Danish Law.

Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc, registered in the US and other countries and regions. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.