193 countries have agreed to contribute to the realization of 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The goals aim to tackle social and environmental challenges, such as climate change, promotion of clean energy, extreme poverty, gender equality and sustainable agriculture.
SDGs differ from the Millennium Development Goals in that they call on the private and public sectors, together with the signatory governments, to cooperate closely in order to tackle the most serious issues facing people and the planet.
The SDGs can be a business opportunity for listed companies, providing them with a future competitive advantage by being a source of innovation, process improvements and operational efficiencies. At the same time companies can have a positive impact on societies and the environment. Companies which embed SDGs into their business strategy will be more likely to align this with governmental policies and regulations and therefore avoid the risk of losing their license to operate or encountering high costs resulting from structural change.
As a signatory of the Dutch SDG Investing Agenda, Robeco is committed to contribute to the SDGs as we consider them as catalytic drivers for positive change. Furthermore Robeco is involved in various initiatives that investigate how the investment industry can contribute to the realization of SDGs.
From an investment perspective, we believe considering material sustainability factors strengthens our investment process and ultimately leads to a better-informed investment decision. The extent to which companies contribute to realizing the SDGs is valuable information that we can incorporate in our investment process and strengthens our investment decisions. We are currently investigating how to measure companies’ contributions to SDGs and possibilities to further integrate SDGs in our investment process.
We are currently in the process of aligning our ongoing active ownership activities (i.e. engagement and voting) with a selection of relevant SDGs from an investment standpoint. By doing so we use our influence as an investor to encourage companies to contribute towards meeting the SDGs while at the same time improving the investment performance for our clients. By actively engaging with companies on the most material sustainability issues we enhance their competitiveness and profitability and hence the investment performance.