The IWBI Special Report Chapter Series: “Investing for Health” – Yahoo Finance

Northampton, MA –News Direct– International WELL Building Institute

Excerpt republished from: Prevention and Preparedness, Resilience and Recovery: An IWBI Special Report

When a company like CVS Health affirms “health is everything” in its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, there’s no ambiguity about how it values health.

Its 2019 CSR report—thematically focused on the priority areas of healthy people, healthy business, healthy community and a healthy planet—utilizes a thorough assessment of materiality factors, such as “access to quality health care,” “employee health and safety” and “diversity, equity and inclusion” to track progress toward its goals.1 If only a similar approach rooted in health was more ubiquitous across all of business and equally asserted by the investment community.

Instead, health and well-being are routinely underreported by companies and often undervalued or misunderstood by investors who evaluate those companies. That’s a missed opportunity—because the fact is, the health and well-being of a company’s employees significantly affect its bottom line. One peer-reviewed study in 2016 showed portfolios composed of companies that scored high on Corporate Health Achievement Awards (CHAA) appreciated by 204 percent to 333 percent compared to the S&P 500 Index appreciation of 105 percent. Another study, also from 2016, compared 45 companies that received high scores in a health and well-being assessment and found they appreciated by 235 percent compared to just 159 percent appreciation of the S&P 500 Index over a six-year simulation period.

Before the pandemic, these benefits might have been known only to those who knew to look for them. Employee health was typically considered a peripheral and altruistic concern, which could at best attract higher quality talent and reduce turnover. But the current global health crisis has helped make clear that protecting worker health and ensuring employee resilience are key to any organization’s ability to succeed. That newfound awareness has the potential to bring health to the forefront of the investment world in a way it never has been before.

According to Mona Naqvi, head of ESG Index Strategy for North America at S&P Dow Jones Indices and an IWBI Governance Council member, “Companies are being put under the microscope like never before regarding public health issues and the way they treat their employees. The COVID-19 issue is providing us the roadmap and the blueprint to better integrate a more systemic and holistic understanding of health as it relates to the markets. …….


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