Lazard is a financial advisory and asset management firm which operates from 41 cities across 26 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America. With origins dating to 1848, it serves a diverse set of clients including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals.
In terms of female representation in leadership positions, Lazard has a gender-balanced board of directors where four out of ten members are women. Moreover, it publishes case studies describing where it has engaged successfully, such as when it encouraged one of the largest users of palm oil to join the roundtable on sustainable palm oil.
Asa member of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, Climate Action 100+, and FAIRR, Lazard has set respectively a target of net-zero financed emissions by 2050 and it proves it collectively engages with its clients on the topic of climate change and biodiversity. The asset manager discloses its absolute financed emissions for the years 2018-2020, which cover approximately 65% of the assets under management.
In terms of its approach to senior leadership accountability, there is no evidence that Lazard assigns responsibility for sustainability to the group’s highest governing body and that links the remuneration of its executive or management teams to sustainability performance criteria. Lazard has an opportunity to publicly commit to women’s empowerment and to disclose the proportion of women in senior leadership roles as well as how it addresses any gender pay gaps. Moreover, the asset manager could describe its engagement approach on sustainability themes and impact topics with its investees.
Lazard could disclose interim emissions reduction targets at the group level, such as a 45% reduction in financed emissions by 2030. Further, it has an opportunity to disclose the key sectors and companies it has identified as priorities to engage with on climate change, specifically on the alignment with the Paris Agreement. Moreover, there is no evidence that Lazard discloses its financing activities devoted to climate solutions as well as a commitment to minimising its negative impacts on biodiversity. Additionally, Lazard has the opportunity to disclose its approach to fossil fuels that spans across the fossil fuel value chain, such as the amount or share of finance it directs towards fuels or its stance on financing companies with new fossil fuel projects.
Lazard could disclose policy statements committing it to respect human rights and the ILO core labour rights. Furthermore, it has an opportunity to describe a comprehensive process for identifying its human rights risks and impacts across all its activities, especially its financing activities. While the asset manager discloses the ages of its board of directors and executive officers, it can provide this information for each employee category. To provide transparency on financial inclusivity, Lazard has an opportunity to disclose the amount of finance directed towards women-owned businesses, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), or low-income developing countries. To conclude, the asset manager could provide evidence of a channel accessible to all workers, external individuals, and communities to raise human rights complaints.