Investors seek both returns and sustainability in the pursuit of wealth and well-being
We now travel a road in which the focus is not just on achieving financial returns, but also on how investments impact society. Robeco has been at the forefront of sustainable investing (SI) for decades and is deeply committed to leading the way forward. Over the years we’ve developed the skills and tools to enable you to invest in the best possible and sustainable way to create wealth and well-being.
Sustainable investing has come a long way
From its humble origins in the 18th century, sustainable investing is now a multi-trillion dollar industry. As it has gone from niche to mainstream, the number of tools and ways in which to invest sustainably has grown enormously. SI ranges from basic exclusions to more advanced climate solutions as the asset management industry works towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This means there are a lot of options to consider.
Five steps into sustainable investing
With so much to choose from, it is important to have a clear view on your own goals and convictions to make sure your investment solutions match your sustainable preferences. These five steps can help.
Select your goal
Think carefully about your goals. Are you mainly focused on maintaining a particular PR image, or are you trying to improve your risk-adjusted return? Do you want to make a difference with binding impact goals pursuing something like the SDGs? Or do you have very specific targets regarding climate change? Different goals need different strategies and solutions.
Choose a strategy
A sustainable strategy should fit your sustainable goals. Exclusions, for example can be the only element or a building block of a broader approach. ESG integration allows for a more meaningful approach, and impact investing is best if you want to make sure your investments have the clearest positive impact, or feel strongly about targeting specific goals such as investing in the energy transition. Most investors choose a mixture of strategies, often on an add-on basis.
Include voting and engagement
Always make sure you use your rights as a shareholder or bondholder to influence corporate behavior. This means voting at shareholder meetings and using engagement; if you don’t have your own capacity, both can be outsourced. Active ownership can be very effective, especially when shareholders join forces to effect change on bigger issues.
Select and monitor
While most asset managers have a sustainable offering, make sure you look under the hood properly. Is sustainability truly embedded in the organization and across their business or do they only integrate sustainability for selected strategies? What is their UNPRI score? What are their fund classifications and binding elements under the SFDR? Monitoring is also important. Check whether known standards such as TCFD are used.
Build towards the future
We strongly believe in achieving both wealth and well-being. The world faces many big challenges and everyone needs to contribute to meet these successfully. Think, for example, of investment solutions that can contribute to the Paris Agreement, help restore and protect biodiversity, address the SDGs or protect human rights. Think of real world impact. Think of a sustainable future.
Questioning everything will take us further
Sustainable investing is not black and white – there are shades of grey, including anomalies and even contradictions. Regulation is tightening and the data needed is becoming more plentiful and often more reliable. Robeco stands at the forefront of SI and acknowledges both its strengths and its deficiencies. Being research-driven and having strong ties with leading bodies and universities, while questioning everything before we progress with it, is in our DNA. Being open, clear and transparent about what we know and don’t know yet it is the only way to go.