The firm made its Net Zero Carbon pledge in December 2020 as a founding signatory of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. This follows a core tenet of the Paris Agreement, which states that global carbon neutrality is needed by 2050 if temperature rises are to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius or less by the end of this century.
At the time, Robeco promised to lay out a roadmap within a year describing how this can be achieved at a practical level. This has now been done with the publication of the policy document ‘Navigating the climate transition: Robeco’s roadmap to net zero emissions by 2050’.
Three pillars lie at the heart of the roadmap: decarbonizing our activities, accelerating the transition and promoting climate-aligned investing. Each pillar has two action points outlining how this can be done.
Decarbonizing our activities contains a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of investments and operations by 7% year on year. This is in line with what science indicates is required for keeping the global temperature rise to well below 2°C.
Accelerating the transition means leveraging Robeco’s influence as a shareholder and bondholder to encourage companies and countries to decarbonize. Much of this can be done through active ownership, specifically in engaging with companies (and now governments) to effect change, and by using votes at company meetings.
Promoting climate-aligned investing can be done by collaborating with clients, peers, standard setters and relevant stakeholders in the industry to accelerate net zero investing. Robeco aims to grow its range of climate-aligned investment solutions, including some pioneering strategies that were among the first to align bond investing with a Paris Agreement-aligned benchmark.
“Our vision is that safeguarding economic, environmental and social assets is a prerequisite for a healthy economy and the generation of attractive returns in the future,” says the roadmap’s author, Robeco Climate Strategist Lucian Peppelenbos, in its introduction. “Climate science has made clear that society has to act now. The costs and impact of inaction increase by the year.”
“We firmly believe this will also create opportunities to enhance long-term risk-adjusted returns. The low-carbon transition is not only a moral imperative, but also the prime investment opportunity of our generation.”