The content displayed on this website is exclusively directed at qualified investors, as defined in the swiss collective investment schemes act of 23 june 2006 ("cisa") and its implementing ordinance, or at “independent asset managers” which meet additional requirements as set out below. Qualified investors are in particular regulated financial intermediaries such as banks, securities dealers, fund management companies and asset managers of collective investment schemes and central banks, regulated insurance companies, public entities and retirement benefits institutions with professional treasury or companies with professional treasury.
The contents, however, are not intended for non-qualified investors. By clicking "I agree" below, you confirm and acknowledge that you act in your capacity as qualified investor pursuant to CISA or as an “independent asset manager” who meets the additional requirements set out hereafter. In the event that you are an "independent asset manager" who meets all the requirements set out in Art. 3 para. 2 let. c) CISA in conjunction with Art. 3 CISO, by clicking "I Agree" below you confirm that you will use the content of this website only for those of your clients which are qualified investors pursuant to CISA.
Representative in Switzerland of the foreign funds registered with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority ("FINMA") for distribution in or from Switzerland to non-qualified investors is Robeco Switzerland AG, Josefstrasse 218, 8005 Zürich, and the paying agent is UBS Switzerland AG, Bahnhofstrasse 45, 8001 Zürich. Please consult www.finma.ch for a list of FINMA registered funds.
Neither information nor any opinion expressed on the website constitutes a solicitation, an offer or a recommendation to buy, sell or dispose of any investment, to engage in any other transaction or to provide any investment advice or service. An investment in a Robeco/Robeco Switzerland product should only be made after reading the related legal documents such as management regulations, articles of association, prospectuses, key investor information documents and annual and semi-annual reports, which can be all be obtained free of charge at this website, at the registered seat of the representative in Switzerland, as well as at the Robeco/Robeco Switzerland offices in each country where Robeco has a presence. In respect of the funds distributed in Switzerland, the place of performance and jurisdiction is the registered office of the representative in Switzerland.
This website is not directed to any person in any jurisdiction where, by reason of that person's nationality, residence or otherwise, the publication or availability of this website is prohibited. Persons in respect of whom such prohibitions apply must not access this website.
Consumers increasingly regard sustainability as one of the factors that determines in which shop they will purchase their clothing.
They use social media and the information that is shared by consumers and other stakeholders such as NGO's to determine their opinion regarding a clothing brand. Preventing health and safety risks in the clothing sector is therefore important for companies in the clothing industry. Their reputation is at risk and brand loyalty can be lost quickly due to the impact of social media, leading consumers to choose a competitor. Preventing health and safety risks in the clothing sector is important for investors. When the reputation of companies is in danger due to incidents such as the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, brand loyalty can be lost quickly and sales will decrease subsequently, which results directly in a negative impact on shareholder value. Therefore preventing health and safety risks contributes to a better risk-return profile for investments in this sector.
In 2015, M&S informed us about their new initiative to publish an annual list of active clothing manufacturers. As promised, in the first quarter of 2016, the company completed the listing of all its suppliers on its website. At present, it includes number of factories, address of each factory and number of male and female employees for each of its clothing and footwear suppliers. In the coming years, the company plans to enrich the website with other ESG indicators of each of its suppliers. M&S plans to expand the suppliers transparency initiative in the future it to its other businesses like food and retail. With this initiative we rank M&S as an advanced clothing retailer in terms of transparency.
To ensure that all the suppliers’ buildings are in compliance with Primark’s H&S standards, the company has incorporated structural building surveys. It has hired an engineer who conducts these surveys on its behalf. The survey by the expert is completed in all the suppliers’ buildings in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In 2016, the company plans to expand the survey to its suppliers in India and Sri Lanka. Another key finding from this dialogue with Primark was that the company confirmed that none of their suppliers globally are in a shared building which was the cause of Rana Plaza disaster. We consider this approach to be very important as risk mitigation to create better oversight.
Companies under engagement recognize the inherent risks while sub-contracting. It is indeed a challenge to ensure the companies’ values and standards are maintained at the sub-contractors’ factories. To manage sub-contracting risks, M&S confirmed that they have a list of pre-approved sub-contractors. They never source from any sub-contractor who is not known to them. The company is confident about its suppliers that they would not engage in any sub-contracting without M&S approval. The company noted the suppliers’ audit processes are very robust. They involve accounting of production capacity, high penalties and even cancellation of contract in case of a breach, which prohibits its suppliers to engage into any un-approved sub-contracting.
We completed our last round of dialogues with companies within this theme in the first quarter of 2016. In last three years we have had multiple dialogues with our eight companies under engagement and we believe that most of these companies are aware of H&S risks in their supply chain. The companies have refined their H&S management strategies at their suppliers in many ways. For example, most of the companies are focussing on one of the following risk management strategies such as reducing their supply base, working with long-term suppliers, ensuring independent suppliers building than shared ones, using advanced IT systems to track and manage suppliers ESG commitment, stricter audits, and high control on sub-contracting. Increasing local representatives in the high risk countries, improving traceability and transparency are also adopted by the companies to mitigate supply chain risks. As an investor, we applaud the companies on their ongoing efforts around improving sustainability in their clothing business.