Robeco publishes annual Global Climate Investing Survey 2024: Realism on transition journey

  • Report highlights regional differences in climate investing enthusiasm

  • Net-zero commitments remain strong, with upswing in Asia-Pacific

  • Growing demand expected for transition investing assets

Rotterdam, 21 May 2024 – Robeco’s fourth annual survey of 300 investors reveals wide regional
differences in attitudes towards climate investing. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region powers ahead
while interest in North America lags behind. The number of APAC investors for whom climate
change is central to, or a significant part of, their investment policy was 79%, surpassing Europe
(76%) for the first time. Enthusiasm is, however, continuing to fall in North America amid political
wrangling over the perceived cost of integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG)
factors into investments, where only 35% prioritize climate investing. This knocked back the global
average to 62% from 71% in 2023, but still signals that a majority of investors have climate
investing as a priority.

Lucian Peppelenbos, Climate and Biodiversity Strategist at Robeco: “When we look at the survey
findings, we can see that many investors are adopting a focused and diligent approach to the work
of decarbonizing investment portfolios and moving towards the low-carbon economy of the future.
As they get to grips with the hard work involved in the climate transition, there is less naivety, and
more careful deliberation and scrutiny over what is needed to embed sustainability into the many
aspects of running investment portfolios.”

Insurance companies stand out for making a net-zero commitment compared to other institutional
and wholesale investors, perhaps driven by their unique exposure to climate change from both
sides of the balance sheet. Some 39% of insurers have made a public commitment, and another
20% are in the process of doing so. Regionally, North American investors are more likely to be
‘commitment-phobic’; nearly half (46%) have ruled out a commitment to net-zero, up from 26% last

Disorderly transition

Over three-quarters of investors expect the transition to be disorderly in some way, with too little
done collectively. Only 15% expect an orderly transition in which governments and markets work
together to cut emissions, and 8% expect a ‘hot-house world’ in which very little action is taken to
avoid global warming. On this note, fewer investors believe that the core Paris Agreement 2 degree
goal can be achieved. Just 30% think this is possible compared to 38% in 2023, while 41% think it
is not achievable, up from 30% the last time.

Allocating to the transition

Investors are currently allocating more funds to general climate strategies rather than those
focusing specifically on 'transitioning' companies. Only 37% are investing in strategies targeting
companies with credible transition plans, although a majority (63%) plan to do so in the next one to
two years. The transition issue has a bearing on the investment styles preferred. Some 45% are
using active equity strategies that specifically target allocations to transition-oriented companies,
while 43% are investing in green bonds or sustainability-focused bonds. This approach is again
more popular in Europe and APAC.

Lucian Peppelenbos: “The transition among corporates and others from brown to green, as they decarbonize, cannot take place without the active involvement of investors, rewarding those making the change and withdrawing support from the unwilling or reluctant. One interesting facet of this year’s findings is how investors in the Asia-Pacific region are forging ahead on sustainability, as they increase their support for the climate transition.”

Climate change is significant/central to investment policy

Climate change is significant/central to investment policy

How would you describe the importance of climate change to your organization’s investment policy two years ago, today, and in the next two years? (Robeco Global Climate Investing Survey 2024)