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Advancing a Compelling Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion


During a visit to Japan, Jyoti Chopra, BNY Mellon’s Head of Global Citizenship and Sustainability, participated in an event for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s (ACCJ) Women in Business Committee Members.

Chopra took the audience through BNY Mellon’s flagship diversity research, Return on Equality, which was conducted in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The report focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 for 2030: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

“The report shows,” Chopra explained, “That gender equality is a key driver of sustainable development, and focuses on the need for investment in products and services that empower women. For example, we considered the impact of enabling easier access to water for the 663 million people who are without, which forces women - and children - to spend an estimated 75 billion hours annually to gather water. The lost opportunity of how these hours could be otherwise used is immense.”

Chopra reiterated a finding from the report, that achieving parity across products and services aimed at gender equality in just five sectors - water, contraception, telecommunications, energy, and child care - could unlock a market of more than US $300 billion in incremental annual spending by 2025.

She went on to explain how BNY Mellon is raising awareness of the importance of gender equality and taking action to further the cause in Japan. “There are two main actions. One is to increase the number of women in senior management and leadership roles, and the second is leveraging our employee resource groups and evolving them into business resource groups,” she said.

Izumi Chihara, Representative Director and President of BNY Mellon Securities in Japan commented, “As part of our diversity initiatives in Japan, our women’s network is one of the most active employee resource groups. Our focus has shifted since we started the group eight years ago, and we now are putting more focus on collaborating with clients and leaning toward a resource for businesses. For example, we consult with clients explaining how we managed to implement successful diversity and gender policies. Many clients are enthusiastic about implementing diversity policies and learning best practices.”

In answer to some of the many questions from the audience, Chopra pointed out, “We are introducing a theatre-based interactive diversity and inclusion workshop in Tokyo. The purpose is to educate employees on not only the need for diversity, but also underscore the economic benefits and the business case for advancing gender equality and inclusion.”

Douglas Hymas, Country Executive for Japan at BNY Mellon added, “Over my career I have worked with many companies. There is a big difference between those companies that are authentically changing through their diversity polices, and those that are doing the barest minimum. There is real commitment from senior management at BNY Mellon to live by these policies. Our leaders are excited and passionate about diversity. And it makes a difference to our business. It was one of the reasons I joined the company.”

Chopra closed the discussion, “A core objective for our diversity and inclusion programs is business integration, developing a strong business case and engaging with clients.”

This can be done in many ways, for example:

  • Consult with clients, on a one-on-one basis, to help them develop their diversity practices
  • Hold joint educational workshops or conduct focused events and programs.
  • Organise and engage in peer networks that are open, allowing participants to freely contribute.

On the role of a Chief Diversity Officer, Chopra left the group with some career advice, “Find a job that’s well aligned with your dreams and passions. If you follow your passion, you are likely to become much more successful. Own your own career. Leading a diversity and inclusion practice is one of the best jobs in the world!”

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