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Robeco advocates responsible investing

01-02-2010 | Press release Robeco advocates responsible investing

Robeco is introducing a comprehensive policy on responsible investing. In future, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors will integrally be taken into account when investment decisions are made. For some years now, Robeco has made active use of its voting right at shareholder meetings of companies in which it invests, and has maintained a dialogue with these companies on how to improve their conduct. These activities will now be expanded. Furthermore, Robeco is introducing an exclusion policy, which means that it will no longer invest in certain companies. Robeco wishes to set an example by demonstrating the kind of responsible behavior it expects to see from the companies in which it invests. The motivation to implement the new comprehensive policy is to improve the risk-return profile of our clients' investments.

Investment policy
SAM, Robeco’s Swiss investment manager, makes corporate ESG data available to the fund managers, who use this information in their investment decisions. SAM has more than ten years of experience with corporate-sustainability assessments and supplies the data used to compile the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. In addition to the mainstream funds, Robeco also has funds that focus specifically on sustainability themes.

Dialogue with companies
Responsible business operations bring long-term rewards for all stakeholders. Robeco will therefore enter into a dialogue, either alone or together with other investors, with the management of companies where conduct could be improved. Robeco has had an active voting policy in place since 2004 and is compliant with national and international codes in the field of good governance and responsible investing, such as the United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Investment; the UN Global Compact and the principles of good governance of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN).

Robeco has been engaged in intensive dialogue with companies for many years. The following are just some of the issues covered: forced labor; association with controversial regimes; sustainability with regard to management remuneration; and the use of water in the textile, drinks and food industries. If dialogue does not lead to the desired result, Robeco may exclude companies in the case of serious systematic violations of generally accepted covenants such as the principles of the UN Global Compact. Regrettably, over time, those companies that continue to fail to respond to the concerns expressed in the course of dialogue are also likely to be excluded. From now on we are excluding companies that ignore international treaties governing trade in and production of controversial weapons such as cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines. The names of these companies can be found on Robeco’s web site.

Classification for responsible investing
Responsible investing further implies transparency on costs, risks and returns on the part of Robeco towards its clients. In future, Robeco’s websites will display a responsible-investing classification (formulated in cooperation with Sustainalytics, an independent bureau) for each one of the Robeco funds. On the basis of this classification, a client can choose whether or not to take certain factors into account when constructing a portfolio. This applies to Robeco’s own funds as well as third-party funds. Robeco will no longer advise third-party funds that have investments in companies producing controversial weapons.

Robeco’s own business operations
For many years, Robeco has been intent on reducing the effects of its operations on the environment. Recycled products are used, and the CO2 emissions that Robeco and its employees generate are being compensated and reduced, among other things by making use of video conferencing and by leasing economical company cars.

Further information about Robeco’s RI policies is to be found on www.robeco.com/responsible_investing
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