Making better-informed investment decisions
Sustainability investing

Making better-informed investment decisions

We integrate environmental, social and governance criteria into the majority of our investment processes, for fundamental and quantitative strategies over a range of asset classes. We’re convinced that this approach leads to better-informed investment decisions and is therefore vital in creating value for our clients.
Insider transactions: ESG indicator or noise?
Insider transactions: ESG indicator or noise?
How do we identify indicators for our Emerging Markets ESG Survey?
28-06-2017 | Insight
Hydroelectric’s power has been watered down
Hydroelectric’s power has been watered down
Growth in renewable energy has dramatically cut the share of the oldest form of it – hydroelectricity.
26-06-2017 | Stunning statistics
Country Sustainability Ranking: peripheral progress stalling
Country Sustainability Ranking: peripheral progress stalling
The European peripheral countries have not made any further progress in the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking.
23-06-2017 | Insight

A leader in sustainability integration

Back in the 1990s, we were one of the first asset managers to see the potential of sustainability as a way of enhancing investment returns for our clients. With this principal aim in mind, we integrate environmental, social and governance ( ESG) information gained from leading sustainability research into our investment processes, and actively engage with the companies in our portfolios.
Glossary
Glossary
of the sustainability language
Read more

We see sustainability as a long-term force for change in markets, countries and companies. This means it can have an important impact on future performance. So in our investment processes, we treat sustainability just like any other value driver, such as company financials or market momentum. We are convinced that this leads to better-informed investment decisions.

25 years
25 years
of access to leading research
SI research library

We have access to research from leading sustainability specialists, such as our sister company, RobecoSAM. We are particularly interested in materiality: which ESG elements impact companies’ financial performance and which don’t. This enables us to focus on the information that is most relevant to our investment performance. After all, our aim is first and foremost to achieve good investment returns for our clients. At Robeco, we regularly publish articles, white papers, engagement case studies and academic research on sustainability.

200+
200+
companies that we maintain an active dialogue with
Voting & engagement

A dedicated team of engagement specialists maintains an active dialogue with some 200 companies a year on financially material themes that we identify in consultation with our investors. This has proven to be a successful means of influencing corporate behavior. They also vote at around 5,000 shareholder annual general meetings. All Robeco’s activities are in line with the Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI), which require asset managers to be active owners and incorporate ESG factors into their ownership policies and practices.

How we voted Shareholder meetings Active Ownership Report

First-rate ESG integration across asset classes

We tailor our ESG approach to our various strategies. Again in 2016, PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) gave us the highest A+ rating for all of them. Our fixed income strategies are leading in their asset class, using ESG mainly to avoid risk. Our global equity strategies quantify ESG’s impact on valuations, while our quant equity portfolios ensure a minimum level of sustainability.
PRI rating
PRI rating
Highest rating third year in a row
View our scorecard

In our equity strategies our analysts quantify the impact of ESG criteria on a company’s valuation. In doing so they focus on the most material issues that can affect the company’s value drivers, such as its sales growth and profit margins. They then analyze the impact of these elements on the company and, based on this assessment, adjust the company’s valuation.

All of our quantitative equity portfolios’ sustainability scores must be at least as high as those of their reference index. We ensure they achieve this without it affecting their risk-return profile. These strategies use RobecoSAM’s Smart ESG scoring system, which has been designed to avoid undesired biases in portfolios (such as a permanent tilt to Europe, just because ESG disclosures are more developed there). It also assigns a heavier weight to those ESG criteria with more predictive power of future returns.
Ranking
Ranking
of countries on sustainability
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In our fixed income strategies, we integrate sustainability into the analysis of both government and credit bonds. In our government bond strategies, we use a Country Sustainability Ranking as an early-warning system that helps us spot problems and opportunities in countries well before they are reflected in spreads or ratings. In our credit strategies we integrate company-specific ESG criteria into all our analyses. As is the case for our equity processes, our materiality framework is the basis of ESG integration.

At the forefront of a growing movement

Sustainability investing is growing rapidly. While Europe remains firmly in the lead, other regions are following. An increasing number of investors are committing to universal codes related to sustainability investing, such as the Principles for Responsible Investment. ESG considerations have a significant, quantifiable impact on investment decisions.
As a signatory of the Dutch SDG Investing Agenda, Robeco is committed to achieving the SDGs, as we consider them to be catalytic drivers for change. We are involved with various initiatives that investigate how the investment industry can contribute to their realization. Our commitment to sustainability investing is reflected in our endorsement of numerous independent and broadly accepted codes of conduct and principles. Robeco is a PRI signatory, a participant in the United Nations Global Compact, and a member of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN). We have also signed several local stewardship codes, such as the UK and Japan Stewardship Codes.
76.6
76.6
billion euro ESG-integrated assets (end of 2016)
Corporate Responsibility
There is often debate about the extent to which asset managers actually integrate ESG into their investment processes. At Robeco, this isn’t just a box-ticking exercise: ESG criteria have a significant impact on our investment decisions. In our credit strategies, for example, ESG elements have a meaningful impact on our fundamental view of individual companies in over 30% of cases. And in our global equity portfolios, ESG accounts for on average 5% of the stock’s target price the analysts arrive at.
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