“Warrior,” “badass,” and “influential” are a few of the words used to describe Arjuna Capital’s co-founder and managing partner, Natasha Lamb. Lamb has been making waves in the financial services industry by disrupting industry norms and placing emphasis on gender equity and ethics-driven business practices. At the same time, the portfolio Lamb manages is generating benchmark beating returns, a testament to her success in executing Arjuna Capital’s founding principle that “a just society, a healthy environment and competitive financial returns are all ‘bottom line’ issues.”

Named by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the “Bloomberg 50” most influential people who defined global business in 2017, Lamb is the ideal leader to light the fire under some of the world’s largest companies. And Arjuna Capital, which offers sustainable and impact investment strategies to high-net worth individuals, families, foundations and endowments, offers the ideal platform for Lamb’s leadership. While advising on $250 million in assets under management, Arjuna Capital has made a name in the industry as a pioneer in impact investing and shareholder advocacy. The three managing partners have more than five decades of sustainable investment experience.

Gender Pay Equity And Leadership Advancement

Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Nike are some of the corporate giants Lamb has confronted about ethical pay policies and other barriers that typically hold women back from advancing in the workplace. “It’s important to stress that there is a solid business case for removing barriers that prevent women from securing leadership positions,” says Lamb when asked what fuels her motivation for gender-focused activism. “We take a broad view that critically examines both human and financial capital, because traditionally, an activist would simply just have returns at the core of their activism. Yet, we hope the businesses we approach will change to increase opportunities that positively affect the bottom line and human beings.”

In a well-publicized run-in with Facebook’s vice president of communications, Elliot Schrage, Lamb brought shareholder concerns about a lack of transparency on pay equity and content governance to the annual meeting. Schrage refused to engage with Lamb, calling her “not nice.” Schrage later issued a public apology.  

“When looking at the gender pay gap, I’m not interested in the company alone,” says Lamb. “I’m interested in an annual disclosure that showcases broader industry decision making, which becomes the data with which investors can analyze the company.”

In her view, the pay gap is just one element in an extraordinarily complex cultural, economic and sexist dynamic in corporate America. According to a 2017 Pew research study, 42 percent of women have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender. The Pew study also reports that women identify the biggest form of discrimination is in terms of income.

“Conversations need to be had about attracting and retaining talent,” states Lamb emphatically. “It’s important to know if companies are recruiting from 100 percent of the talent pool and elevating diverse employees.”

In 2018, Arjuna’s advocacy work with Facebook included a content governance proposal that highlights election interference, fake news and sexual harassment happening across the social media platform in violation of the company’s terms of use. After experiencing sexism from a Facebook executive, Lamb is steadfast in her pursuit to reform sexist practices throughout the firm.

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