- Paul Thompson, director of LGBT Capital, says the LGBT+ and Black Lives Matter movements should push investors to an ethical future.
Many people talk about the ‘power of the pink dollar’ but few realize there’s $20trillion of LGBT+ wealth we could be using to build a better future.
Some companies have truly realised the value of LGBT+ consumers and reflected this in their advertising. But fewer have embraced the idea of using ‘our money’ to push for greater equality.
You may not be a millionaire with a global investment fund manager. But even if you have a pension or bank account, an investor somewhere is making decisions about how to use that money. So this includes all of us.
Recent social justice movements including Black Lives Matter and the continued outcry over gender identity, re-enforces how pertinent social sustainability is. This really matters to marginalized communities.
There is no doubt that the wealth of the LGBT+ community can significantly impact the global economy. It represents a large proportion of global GDP.
Indeed, my investment firm, LGBT Capital, now estimates LGBT+ spending power (effectively the LGBT+-GDP) is approaching a whopping $4trillion annually.
The figures also demonstrate the significant value of LGBT+ tourism on countries’ GDP. In some cases, it represents more than 1% of a country’s total GDP.
Perhaps most surprisingly, we estimate the LGBT+ community’s total household wealth is over $20trillion.
We are a community which investment firms can scarcely ignore.
Having LGBT+ credentials should aid winning investment
Therefore, there are great opportunities for us to use our collective muscle to support and influence change.
The way we spend our money – the brands we support and the countries we travel to – can impact companies’ and governments’ decision making. LGBT+ people have recognized that for years.
But, what we haven’t seen yet is a systematic and institutional galvanisation of the value of the LGBT+ community within the investment and savings industry.
LGBT Capital is proud to be working with LGBT Great, Equality Group and the Bisi Alimi Foundation to pioneer new thinking for the post-COVID world.
This alliance wants to target investment and savings firms who manage our money.
In particular this means, how investment professionals invest and which companies they invest in.
We are calling on firms to apply an LGBT+ lens to investment decision making. The companies we invest our money in should demonstrate their commitment to LGBT+ equality. And they must provide the evidence to prove it.
Would we want to invest in companies that discriminate against the LGBT+ community?
For example, an investment firm buying shares in a company should first determine whether they are acting ethically when it comes to LGBT+ equality and social sustainability.
Of course companies rely on investment to grow. So, in turn, if companies seeking cash from investors knew they would only get it if they have equality measures in place, it would make them take LGBT+ people and social responsibility far more seriously.
How do you want your money used?
For this approach to work, investment organizations need to adopt it at an institutional level and make it a core part of the investment process.
That’s why we need the LGBT+ community and allies to support us. Together, we can push organizations to do the right thing. In turn, those that do will gain investor support more easily and grow more rapidly.
Looking ahead, we are calling on global investment firms to support us in developing this LGBT+ lens on their work.
But that starts with asking the LGBT+ community what its expectations are. How and where do you think investors should place your money?
As I said at the start of this article, this is just as relevant for people with small nest eggs, pensions and savings accounts as it is for millionaires. Together, our relatively humble pots of money add up to big bucks for investment firms and the companies they support.
You can help by completing this short, anonymous survey to tell us your views. If you respond, we’ll share our insights on the results with you.