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Robeco

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Robeco is an international asset manager offering an extensive range of active investment strategies. Research lies at the heart of everything we do, with a ‘pioneering but cautious’ approach that has driven us since our foundation in Rotterdam in 1929. We are passionate about sustainable investing, quantitative techniques and constant innovation.

As a pure play asset manager, Robeco combines a research driven investment approach with a long-term investment horizon to create added value for our clients and society through competitive financial returns and wider socioeconomic benefits.

Since the launch of our first sustainable investment strategy in 1995, sustainability has truly been part of Robeco’s DNA. For over a quarter of a century, a commitment to sustainability has formed an explicit part of our company strategy.

We believe that sustainability is a driver of structural change in countries, companies and markets. Therefore, the systematic assessment of ESG factors and their integration into our investment processes is universal, which leads to better informed investment decisions and stronger risk- adjusted returns throughout an economic cycle to the benefit of our clients.

Key Personnel
  1. Peter Walsh, Head of Robeco UK: p.walsh@robeco.com
  2. Katie Weber, Head of UK Institutional Sales: k.weber@robeco.com
  3. Andrew Knell, Director, UK Client Solutions: a.knell@robeco.com
Key ESG Facts

2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of Robeco’s first sustainable investment strategy. We now manage £126bn* in strategies integrating ESG principles and have over £269bn* in assets under engagement.

Other notable milestones in our sustainable investing journey include the initiation of our voting and engagement services in 2005, as well as being one of the first to sign the UN PRI in 2006. In their annual assessment, we are proud to have been awarded the UN PRI’s highest scores in all categories for every year since 2014.

Our dedicated Sustainable Investing Center of Expertise now contains over 35 highly qualified and experienced individuals devoted to active ownership, sustainable investing research, thought leadership, and client portfolio management. This depth of expertise, combined with the integration of sustainability at the core of our investment process allows Robeco to continually drive innovation in our product range.

Following the launch of our inaugural sustainable equity fund over a quarter of a century ago, we are extremely proud to have been the first asset manager to launch a sustainable water fund in 2001, as well as the world’s first sustainable private equity and clean technology private equity fund of funds in 2004. We launched our UN Sustainable Development Goal-aligned equity and credit strategies in 2018.

In 2020, we reiterated our commitment to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement by becoming one of the first asset managers to declare its aim to achieve carbon neutrality across all assets under management by 2050. As pioneers in sustainable investing, this commitment is further underscored by our investment innovation including the launch of our Green Bond, and Paris-aligned fixed income strategies – the first of their kind.

*As at end November 2020.

ESG Funds/Products

As we believe sustainability considerations to be material drivers of performance across asset classes, the structural integration of ESG factors is universal in our investment process and reflected in every strategy we manage.

We also manage strategies that have an enhanced focus on sustainability and others that have explicit impact targets such as an improved ESG score or reduced environmental footprint relative to their benchmark.

This is perhaps best explained with an outline of the subdivision of our strategy ranges:

  • Sustainability Inside: Robeco strategies which reflect full ESG integration, proprietary research, exclusions and voting and engagement
  • Sustainability Focus: Robeco strategies which have an explicit sustainability policy and target, alongside financial targets, with a measurable footprint reduction better than their benchmarks
  • Impact Investing: Robeco strategies which aim to contribute explicitly to sustainable themes such as energy, mobility and/or the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

To illustrate this further as it pertains to our equity strategies, whilst our flagship sustainable equity strategy ‘Sustainable Global Stars’ explicitly focuses on ESG factors as an integral part of the valuation process, our thematic strategies target sustainability themed investments by addressing social or environmental challenges through investing in companies offering solutions to these issues.

For our fixed income strategies, ESG factors are an integral consideration when determining a company’s fundamental credit score. Strategies such as our SDG Credits fund build on this and target dedicated sustainability goals. Here, our innovative approach utilises a proprietary measurement framework to assess a company’s contributions the UN’s 17 SDGs and 169 sub-targets, making the impact of an investment both tangible and measurable.

We have also recently launched two unique global fixed income strategies that are fully aligned with the Paris Agreement and are designed to achieve a reduction in carbon emission intensity of 7% year-on-year with the aim of keeping a maximum temperature rise to well below 2◦C. A full overview of the range of Robeco’s ESG integrated strategies can be found here.

Strengths in ESG

Our strengths in ESG are derived from our depth of experience and genuine commitment to sustainability. The comprehensive incorporation of ESG factors into the core of our investment process ensures that sustainability is integrated at a firm level and is therefore at the forefront of all that we do.

This, combined with our access to proprietary in-house research, extensive datasets and internal expertise allows us to continually drive innovation in sustainable investing.

For instance, whilst the integration of ESG factors into equity analysis has become ever more prevalent, our innovative, research driven approach has led us to successfully develop several unique sustainable fixed income strategies. We have pioneered both the incorporation of corporate impacts on the UN SDGs and contributions to the Paris Agreement in the research and portfolio construction process.

This is work which has received industrywide recognition in the form of numerous awards such as ESG & SRI Provider of the Year at the European Pension Awards (2019) and Impact Manager of the Year at the LAPF Investment Awards for consecutive years (2017, 2018), as well as our first place ranking in ShareAction’s Responsible Investment Survey (2019).

Future plans in ESG

Over the coming years, Robeco aims to further build on a number of significant announcements and pledges we made over the course of 2020, with the aim of further solidifying our leadership position in Sustainable Investment. Below we outline a few notable examples.

In late 2020, Robeco announced our ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 across all our assets under management. In the coming months we will develop a roadmap and set interim targets to meet this ambition. This will form part of Robeco’s new strategy, to be unveiled in 2021. Over the next years, we will work in particular on the following components:

  • Research on sectoral decarbonization pathways and the “transition- readiness” of companies
  • Introducing enhanced engagement with companies on Paris alignment
  • Solidifying our carbon data infrastructure
  • Setting company-wide decarbonization targets and carbon budgets for the different strategies & funds

Additionally, in October 2020, Robeco launched an internal Biodiversity Taskforce to work on delivering the commitments included in the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge and coordinate our involvement in different biodiversity initiatives. This Pledge was signed by 26 global financial institutions that commit to reverse nature loss in the next decade by collaborating and sharing knowledge, engaging with companies, assessing impact, setting targets and reporting progress by 2024, the latest. The Taskforce aims to develop a roadmap to quantify the positive and negative impact of our investments on biodiversity, aiming to set concrete targets for improvement by 2024.

Lastly, Robeco is placing a considerable focus on the implementation of the new EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan, and its implementation within our organization.

Latest ESG Content

Publications:

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Contact details:

Address: Augustine House, 6a Austin Friars London, EC2N 2HA, United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 20 7496 3200

Articles by Robeco

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