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Open house at China Resources Power

16-01-2017 | Insight | Sylvia van Waveren

Following accusations of an environmental UN Global Compact breach, we actively engaged with China Resources & Power (CRP). The company convincingly refuted the allegations and demonstrated great openness to its stakeholders.

Robeco closes successful real estate engagement program

11-01-2017 | Insight | Matthias Narr

Robeco’s Governance and Active Ownership (GAO) team is ending a three-year engagement program with the 11 real estate companies that were held in our property equities fund in 2013.

Stewardship codes give sustainability investing in Asia a push

09-01-2017 | Insight | Michiel van Esch, Ronnie Lim

Whereas Asia used to be a laggard in sustainability investing, the region is catching up quickly. New stewardship codes are being introduced at a rapid pace. Robeco endorses the Japanese, Taiwan and Hong Kong stewardship codes.

From the horse's mouth: How do companies use engagement?

03-01-2017 | Insight | Peter van der Werf

Robeco has been engaging with companies since 2005. While, as investors, we see the use of engagement, we didn’t know how companies perceive this. Earlier this year, VDBO (the Dutch investors association for sustainable development), Robeco and University of Amsterdam researched this topic, interviewing a number of companies on how they use engagement.

ESG trends in Turkey: A country going astray

29-12-2016 | Insight | Max Schieler, Paul Murray John

Turkey’s sustainability performance has steadily declined in recent years. This has had a direct impact on the positioning of Robeco Emerging Debt.

South Africa leads emerging markets ESG survey

15-12-2016 | Insight | Koos Burema, Michael van der Meer

Robeco has been incorporating sustainability in the analysis of emerging markets companies for over 15 years. What started as a corporate governance survey in 2001 evolved into an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) survey in 2014. In this year’s survey, South Africa continues to be in the lead, while India and Mexico are the biggest risers.

Country Sustainability Ranking shows shifts in Europe

06-12-2016 | Insight | Max Schieler, Rikkert Scholten

Recently, the semi-annual update of the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking was released. It shows some notable shifts in Europe.

Voting is more powerful than meets the eye

06-12-2016 | Insight | Michiel van Esch

Voting is a more powerful investor tool than meets the eye, as even small levels of dissent can lead to major changes further down the road, says a leading researcher on the subject.

Round table discusses the reality of integrating ESG

21-11-2016 | Insight | Stefan Laszlo, Rob Radelaar

Sustainability investing has become a broad church, so how do investors actually embrace it? Not every asset manager routinely integrates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into equity portfolios, and many still don’t agree on what it should entail.

Corporate Risk Oversight in the Mining Sector – challenges of broad ESG risks

11-11-2016 | Insight

A sound corporate risk oversight is relevant for the investment process in various ways. As risk taking can lead to both profits and losses, it’s important for investors to gain insight in the specific risks that are relevant for companies and the type of policies they use to mitigate those risks. The board of directors is responsible for determining the company’s risk appetite and overseeing that management has taken adequate risk management policies and procedures.

Let's be realistic about renewable electricity

08-11-2016 | Insight | Erik Hylarides

There is a lot of talk about renewable electricity becoming cost-competitive with conventional fossil fuel energy. That is good news for anyone who cares about global warming. However, energy experts point out real and substantial hurdles that still need to be taken.

Corporate culture meets competitive advantage

19-10-2016 | Insight | Chris Berkouwer, Michiel Plakman

Cultural change is very difficult to accomplish. If a company’s competitive advantage is backed by corporate culture, is will be sticky and can lead to long-term value creation. We aim to identify companies that have the right cultural building blocks, which ultimately leads to better shareholder returns.

Macondo boosts risk management in deepwater drilling

12-10-2016 | Insight | Sylvia van Waveren

After the Macondo oil spill in 2010, we started engaging with ten companies in the deepwater drilling industry. Objective was to gain insight into the risks and investment opportunities, and encourage best practices. We were impressed with the improvements and the sense of urgency we observed.

Sustainable Development Goals: an opportunity for investors

11-10-2016 | Insight | Matthias Narr, Bas Knol

The UN has released the Sustainable Development Goals, asking the private sector to contribute as well. Asset managers such as Robeco cannot only make an important contribution, they can also benefit from the investment opportunities that arise.

Engaging for sustainable palm oil

03-10-2016 | Insight | Peter van der Werf

Palm oil is used in many products including food and cosmetics. It is faced with several environmental and social issues that have become a reputational risk. We are engaging with companies in this industry to improve their performance on issues such as human rights, deforestation and labor standards.

Upward trend in euro area ESG scores is stalling

27-09-2016 | Olaf Penninga, Rikkert Scholten

After years of widespread improvements, the ESG scores of euro area countries have started to show a more mixed picture. This can be concluded from the latest update of the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking. The information obtained from the ranking is used in investment decisions for the Euro Government Bonds fund.

Solar energy: do we have a lift-off?

20-09-2016 | Insight | Henk Grootveld

The role of renewable energy, such as sun and wind energy, is expected to increase rapidly over the next years. At this stage it is hard to pinpoint exactly which companies will benefit the most, but it is already clear that a lot of damage will be caused in the energy sector, utilities and car manufacturers.

Banks’ risk culture and its impact on credits

13-09-2016 | Insight | Taeke Wiersma, Christopher Greenwald

After the credit crisis, the importance of proper risk management at banks has become indisputable. In 2015, RobecoSAM incorporated a new question on banks’ risk culture in its yearly Corporate Sustainability Assessment. This information has a direct impact on Robeco’s credit investment decisions.

Smart sustainability integration in Quant Equity

12-09-2016 | Insight | Bart Van der Grient, Machiel Zwanenburg

All Robeco Quantitative Equity strategies integrate ESG factors. To measure sustainability, we use the scores based on RobecoSAM’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment. Recently, RobecoSAM has introduced the Smart ESG score. This is more suitable for investment purposes, as it removes undesired biases and gives more weight to elements with more predictive power for future returns.

Avoiding unpleasant surprises: country risk in telecom credits

07-09-2016 | Insight | Jankees Ruizeveld, Mattias Müller

For many telecom companies, expanding into emerging countries can be very attractive. However, the telecom sector is highly exposed to country governance risk, such as changing regulations and bribery. For credits issued by telecom companies we assess this risk in a structured way to make better-informed investment decisions.

Engagement with Olam mutually beneficial

05-09-2016 | Engagement Spotlight | Peter van der Werf

As a sustainable investor, Robeco is convinced that engaging with companies on the most material sustainability issues enhances their competitiveness and profitability. In addition, it generates measurable benefits for investors and society as a whole. Our engagement with Olam is a case in point.

Bridging Sustainability and Finance: value-driver adjustment

01-09-2016 | Insight | Petra Sagel

Willem Schramade, Sustainability and Valuation Specialist in Robeco’s Global Equity team, recently published an article on ESG integration in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. In this article, he explains how true ESG integration can help both investors and companies become more successful and may even lead to a more sustainable form of capitalism.

Wind of change

31-08-2016 | Insight | Chris Berkouwer

The wind industry is past its growing pains. It hardly needs subsidies anymore and is showing much better returns on invested capital and free cash flow generation. It’s finally investment worthy.

Year-to-date: Using ESG to assess the quality of Return on Equity

29-08-2016 | Insight | Johan van der Lugt

We firmly believe that ESG analysis, combined with traditional financial analysis, can offer investors powerful insights. With our proprietary Sustainable ROE Analyzer, we use ESG information to assess the quality and sustainability of Returns on Equity (ROEs) of property & casualty insurance companies

How do investors expect utilities to deal with COP21?

10-08-2016 | Insight | Matthias Narr

A group of over 270 institutional investors representing more than EUR 20 trillion in assets recently published a guide for the electric utilities sector. In this guide, they explain how they expect utilities to align their strategies with the low carbon economy required to keep global warming below 2°C. Engagement Specialist Matthias Narr is the lead author.

Robeco retains PRI’s highest A+ grade

08-08-2016 | Insight | Edith Siermann

Robeco has retained the highest possible A+ score for sustainability investing by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

Cyber risk should be addressed at board level

04-08-2016 | Insight | Carola van Lamoen

Cyber risk should be addressed at board level as it poses an increasing threat to companies and investors, says Robeco’s head of Governance and Active Ownership.

The intricacies of engaging in Asia

27-07-2016 | Insight | Michiel van Esch

It was up close and personal for Engagement Specialist Michiel van Esch when he learnt the do’s and don’ts of engaging companies in Asia during a three-month spell in Robeco’s Hong Kong office. It requires a different approach to what is common practice elsewhere in the world.

Smart energy investments for a low carbon future

13-07-2016 | Interview | Thiemo Lang

Thiemo Lang, Portfolio Manager of the RobecoSAM Smart Energy strategy, discusses the future of the energy sector in the wake of the COP21 agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

Integrating sustainability into factor credit strategies

12-07-2016 | Research | Frederik Muskens, Jeroen van Zundert, Mark Whirdy, Patrick Houweling, PhD

Our factor credit strategies have two main objectives: maximizing the portfolio’s factor exposure and limiting sustainability risks. How do we integrate these two goals?

Tackling climate change the economic way

04-07-2016 | Interview

Helen Mountford is the Director of Economics at the World Resources Institute and the Program Director for its New Climate Economy initiative, which provides independent evidence on the relationship between actions which can strengthen economic performance and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. In this interview she outlines how she believes sustainable investment works best in combination with government policies.

What's behind the façade?

29-06-2016 | Insight | Willem Schramade

Many asset managers claim to do ESG integration. But do they really? It can be a tough call, as the marketing is often stronger than the execution; scores and ratings tell only part of the story; and the confusion over concepts makes it even harder. Here are four questions that can help you get behind the façade.

Simon Property's sustainability journey

28-06-2016 | Insight | Matthias Narr

Simon Property Group (‘Simon’) is a US real estate company that develops and operates shopping centers. The company has remarkably improved its sustainability performance since we started to engage with them in 2013.

ESG integration: the value-driver adjustment approach

27-06-2016 | Insight | Willem Schramade

Willem Schramade, Sustainability and Valuation Specialist in Robeco’s Global Equity team, recently published an article on ESG integration in the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment. In this article, he explains the Robeco Global Equity team’s advanced approach to ESG integration.

Winners and sinners in country sustainability rankings

13-06-2016 | Insight | Max Schieler

Sweden is still the world’s most sustainable country, while the UK faces a stability threat due to the Brexit vote, and the refugee crisis is a major global risk, according to the latest RobecoSAM assessment.

Advance Magazine June 2016

09-06-2016 | Magazine | Vera Krückel

Our latest Advance magazine leads on how investors need to rethink demographics, plus all the latest developments in sustainability investing.

Panama Papers yet again stress the importance of ESG

22-04-2016 | Insight | Carola van Lamoen, Mark Glazener, Taeke Wiersma, Aaron Reem

The Panama Papers appear to be yet another scandal in the banking sector. The relevance for us as investors is that if banks are found to have engaged in illegal tax evasion practices, their reputation will be damaged and they can face big fines. This affects profitability and debt repayment capacity.

Sustainability leadership or déjà vu CSR?

13-04-2016 | Opinion | Willem Schramade

Willem Schramade, Sustainability and Valuation Specialist within Robeco’s Global Equity team, has flashbacks of Groundhog Day.

Investors need to rethink demographics, says Credit Suisse expert

30-03-2016 | Insight

Investors need to rethink their entire views about demographics because the current pensions system is unsustainable, says population expert Amlan Roy.

Extensive engagements with Royal Dutch Shell

29-03-2016 | Insight | Sylvia van Waveren

Like many companies in the oil and gas sector, Shell is facing a constant stream of allegations related to environmental issues. Since the start of Robeco’s engagement programs in 2005, we have been in dialogue with this global energy company on several topics.

Putting the promises of COP21 into practice

16-03-2016 | Insight | Dirk Hoozemans

Dirk Hoozemans, energy and utilities analyst within the Robeco Global Equities team, outlines why he is optimistic that the targets set at December’s climate change summit can be implemented.

Integrated reporting: more than a box-ticking exercise

16-02-2016 | Daniëlle Essink, Johan van der Lugt

Integrated reporting, which combines financial and sustainability information, is starting to appear more on companies’ agendas. Although this is a step in the right direction, integrated reporting should not be the final objective, but rather a means of meaningful reporting, say financial analyst Johan van der Lugt and engagement specialist Daniëlle Essink.

Robeco Global Total Return Bond Funds leading approach to ESG integration

05-02-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Rikkert Scholten

The Global Total Return Bond Fund aims to capture opportunities in fixed income classes around the globe.

No sugarcoating the facts for Bunge

04-02-2016 | Insight | Peter van der Werf

Following allegations of human rights and environmental breaches against the Brazilian subsidiary of Bunge, we started an enhanced engagement with this global agribusiness company in addition to our dialogue on challenges in the soy and palm oil supply chain. The company has taken decisive action, showing good progress on our engagement objectives.

Using ESG to assess the quality of Return on Equity

06-01-2016 | Insight | Johan van der Lugt

We firmly believe that ESG analysis, combined with traditional financial analysis, can offer investors powerful insights. With our proprietary Sustainable ROE Analyzer, we use ESG information to assess the quality and sustainability of Returns on Equity (ROEs) of property & casualty insurance companies

Analyze this: valuing carbon exposures

03-12-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

In the 1999 motion picture ‘Analyze this’, a psychiatrist is reluctant to accept a mafia boss as his patient, but is then forced to accept and analyze him.

Unilever to publish human rights report based on new framework

25-11-2015 | Daniëlle Essink

Human rights reporting has historically been the weakest part of corporate ESG reporting. Many reports remain anecdotal and until recently there was no clarity on what the standard should look like.

Environmental challenges in the electric utilities industry

25-11-2015 | Matthias Narr

Power generation requires substantial investments and long-term planning by the power generators. At the same time their strategies are greatly affected by regulatory decisions as a substantial part of the market remains regulated or impacted by regulatory decisions (e.g. subsidies).

Advance November 2015 - Sustainability Investing in focus

24-11-2015 | Magazine

Our latest Advance magazine leads on how we engage with carbon companies, plus all the latest developments in sustainability investing.

Stock selection more important than ever

17-11-2015 | Insight | Mark Glazener

Easy stock price gains will be a thing of the past in 2016. This is why we are focusing even more on good quality companies with solid cashflows and high returns on invested capital. Europe and Japan are our favorite developed markets.

Robeco Property Equities scores well on sustainability

15-10-2015 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma, Matthias Narr

Every year GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) conducts a survey that serves as input for its sustainability benchmark. Robeco uses this benchmark to engage with companies in which we invest in order to improve the real estate sector’s sustainability. Robeco Property Equities scores well above the average.

Robeco Global Stars Equities: investing with higher conviction

21-09-2015 | Insight | Jan Keuppens, Willem Schramade

Jan Keuppens and Willem Schramade explain how ESG is integrated in the analysis and valuation of equities for Robeco Global Stars Equities. "We are thus able to make better informed investment decisions."

12 things to know about sustainable investing

31-08-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

Sustainable investing (SI) is a confusing field, with lots of different concepts and approaches. We will discuss twelve observations that should help asset owners find their way.

Fixed income quarterly outlook: ESG integration leads to better informed investment decisions

22-07-2015 | Outlook | Kommer van Trigt, Machiel van de Groes, Paul van der Worp

In its outlook for the third quarter of this year, Robeco’s Global Fixed Income Macro team shares its views on Treasuries, credits and emerging debt and explains its positions in Rorento Global Total Return Bond Fund.

How to keep Asia’s growth sustainable? | Advance May 2015

21-05-2015 | Magazine

To keep up the strong growth it displayed in the past - and ultimately catch up with western economies – emerging Asia has to address some very concrete environmental challenges.

Car engine innovation is key to CO2 reduction

30-04-2015 | Insight | Evert Giesen

Although there are still some climate sceptics, most scientists share the view that man-made CO2 emission leads to global warming and climate change. This has led to efforts to reduce CO2 emission levels. As the car industry is one of the largest sources of man-made CO2 emissions, car manufacturers who can deal with this challenge in an innovative way, can be attractive for us as investors.

Sustainability integration in Quantitative Equity strategies

10-03-2015 | Insight | Bart Van der Grient, Michael Strating, Pim van Vliet, PhD, Wilma de Groot, CFA

Robeco is committed to sustainable investing. All Robeco Quantitative Equity strategies already integrated ESG factors (Environment, Social and Governance), and since December 2014, we have taken this one step further.

Helping pension funds to ‘do something’ with sustainability

04-03-2015 | Insight | Lucas van Berkestijn

While many institutional investors may have the ambition to integrate sustainability into their investment processes, they often don’t know where to start, struggling to make more concrete steps. “We can help them by making a step-by-step roadmap to implement sustainability investing and keep in control of their progress”, says Lucas van Berkestijn, Sustainability Investing Client Specialist for RobecoSAM.

Higher returns thanks to ‘sin stocks’

20-02-2015 | Insight | Mark Glazener

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This time: the remarkable outperformance of ‘sin shares’.

Views of pension fund participants important for the discussion on ESG

09-02-2015 | Insight

Social preferences in sustainability can play a role in investment decisions, says Paul Smeets PhD, an expert in behavioral economics and finance. Quantitative investors should pay attention too.

ESG integration: how to monitor your external manager?

28-11-2014 | Insight

While ESG integration seems high on the agenda of many asset owners, implementation remains a challenge when selecting and monitoring external managers. Cécile Churet, Sustainability Investing Client Specialist at RobecoSAM, researched the industry trends and concluded that there is still a long way to go.

Valuing ESG impact at Robeco Global Equity

26-09-2014 | Insight | Willem Schramade

More and more investors recognize the importance of ESG integration. However, many parties tend to focus on screening and exclusion. While lots of ESG efforts are being made, the connection to business models and valuation tends to be missing. In this article we discuss how the Robeco Global Equity team tackles the challenge of linking ESG to value drivers.

Credit analysis and ESG: a perfect fit

17-09-2014 | Insight | Jankees Ruizeveld, Taeke Wiersma

One of the cornerstones of the investment philosophy of Robeco’s Credit team is that avoiding losers is more important than picking every winner. The team believes that integrating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors into its analysis strengthens the ability to assess the downside risk of its credit investments. The Credit team is therefore convinced that ESG and credit analysis are a perfect fit.

Integrating ESG in Euro Government Bond portfolios

07-07-2014 | Insight | Olaf Penninga, Rikkert Scholten

The ESG ranking of a number of euro periphery countries has improved, after having reached a low in 2010. These changes give information on developments in a country’s investment risk. We use this information to identify trends in, for instance, the political climate that are relevant for our investment decisions.

Focus on ESG risks crucial in the telecom sector

01-11-2013 | Opinion | Edith Siermann

When considering sustainable corporate operations you initially think of preventing child labor in the textile industry or of recycling metal. The telecom sector does not immediately spring to mind. However, in this sector there are actually many specific issues, particularly relating to social (S) and environmental (E) aspects of the business that, if not properly managed, can expose telecom companies to considerable risk. I will focus on the most significant of these.

The impact of ESG on credit analysis: an example from the banking sector

05-07-2013 | Insight | Taeke Wiersma

In our previous edition we explained the integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in the analysis of stocks. How does this work for credits and does ESG information really impact an analyst’s opinion? ‘Not always, but in some cases it definitely has a material impact’, says Taeke Wiersma, Head of Robeco’s Credit Research team.

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