Sustainable Thematic Investing

Targeted, real-world solutions to global sustainability challenges

Key points

  1. Capture long-term value potential of solutions that address sustainability challenges

  2. Contribute to positive impact and sustainable economic growth

  3. Harness decades of expertise underpinning forward-looking, high-conviction themes

We believe that addressing global sustainability challenges offers a significant, long-term value proposition. Climate change, resource scarcity, endangered biodiversity as well as unhealthy lifestyles are all examples of real-world obstacles that reduce society's optimal growth and development.

Companies creating sustainable solutions possess substantial competitive advantages and benefit from structural changes in consumer preferences, technological innovation and governmental regulations that are driving sustainability in society.

Thematic investments focus on high-conviction themes with robust sustainability drivers. By maximizing exposure to innovative growth opportunities and minimizing exposure to legacy companies, we aim to offer superior, risk-adjusted performance over the long-term.

Environmental, social and economic impact

Capturing returns is a strong motivator but using investments to advance positive environmental, social and economic impact creates an even more powerful incentive. Investments in sustainable thematic companies are contributing to UN SDGs by creating solutions to reduce waste and pollution, ensure clean water and renewable energy and promote healthy populations and ecosystems.

Our approach

Structured investment process

Structured investment process

Thematic equity strategies are actively managed and employ a structured investment process. Each thematic universe is built using stocks with meaningful exposure to respective, theme-related activities.

Investment clusters

Investment clusters

The thematic universe is divided into investment clusters rather than single sectors. Each investment cluster captures the opportunities stretching across the diverse market segments along the theme’s value chain be it down-, mid- or upstream.

Portfolio construction

Portfolio construction

Portfolio construction is driven by high-conviction, bottom-up stock selection focused on sound economic fundamentals and attractive valuations that capitalize on solutions to sustainability challenges.


For nearly a quarter century, Robeco has been at the forefront of thematic investing – sensing early on the building under-currents of trends and their powerful potential for re-shaping business and society.

Our first thematic strategy was launched already in 1998 and over the next two decades effective collaboration between Robeco’s in-house investment teams, has enabled the development of a diverse range of cutting-edge thematic investment strategies – from disruptive digitalization in finance and retail to confronting environmental destruction and resource scarcity.

The breadth and depth of industry knowledge, technical expertise and investment experience in thematic equity and sustainability research helps ensure our sustainable thematic equity portfolios are optimized to generate superior returns, mitigate downside risks and produce positive impact for investors and society.

Dieter Kuffer CFA -  Head of Thematic Investing Water/Healthy Living/Biodiversity/Circular Economy

Dieter Kuffer CFA
Head of Thematic Investing Water/Healthy Living/Biodiversity/Circular Economy

Investing in sustainability themes is not just a trend, it's the future. SDG-aligned investments help support sustainable global development and long-term financial growth



Sustainable investing is at the core of each thematic strategies’ investment objective. The strategies seek to mitigate sustainability challenges facing business, society and the environment through investments in carefully selected, investable themes in smart energy and mobility, smart materials and manufacturing, recycling and the circular economy as well as water supplies and healthy living.

The sustainable investment objective is primarily attained by investing in companies that advance those United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are most closely aligned with the respective Strategy’s theme. Moreover, all strategies follow a strict exclusion list based on universally accepted international investment standards as well as rigorous, theme-specific criteria.

Under the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation all strategies are classified as Article 9.

Sustainability objectives are also driven through active ownership, voting and engagement activities. Engagement consists of a constructive dialogue between institutional investors and investee companies to discuss how they manage ESG risks and seize business opportunities associated with sustainability challenges.



Climate transition

Investing that aims to assist in meeting decarbonization objectives



Investing that aims to generate beneficial social and/or environmental effects


Rich heritage

This has been a core expertise for us for decades


Trend exposure

Looking to take advantage of long-term, underestimated socioeconomic changes