hongkongen
Sustainable Investing Glossary

Water sustainability

Water sustainability refers to the availability of fresh water for human consumption and use in agriculture and industrial processes. Sea water is by far the most abundant resource on the planet, covering more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, but it cannot be used as drinking water without desalination. Fresh water covers only 2.75% of the planet, of which 1.75–2% is frozen in glaciers and the polar regions, most of which is trapped in Antarctica. Only 0.5%–0.75% of all the Earth’s fresh water is accessible on the ground, of which about 87% is contained in lakes.

The relative unavailability of water has led some to believe that eventually wars will be fought over access to it. The US Director of National Intelligence warned in 2012 that water demand is set to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030, which means the risk of conflict will grow. Disputes have already been seen in hot regions including the Middle East, where Turkey’s removal of dams along the Euphrates River in 2015 exacerbated the Syrian conflict. 

Agriculture is the biggest consumer of fresh water through the need for irrigation, followed by industry. Population and industrial expansion in emerging markets will dramatically increase water demand, not just for crops and livestock, but also for industrial processes such as energy, manufacturing, and construction. Growing populations and aging infrastructure are challenging urban centers in the provision of drinking water and also for sanitation and sewerage systems, which require water to function. Areas which have seen water shortages have also faced sanitation problems as they became unable to flush away human waste. 

Climate change is making water shortages worse. At one extreme, droughts have led to failed harvests along with bush fires in Africa and Australia. At the other extreme, storms and floods have badly damaged infrastructure in areas that previously had reliable water and sewerage systems, such as in the southern US and parts of Europe. Overpopulation is another threat: 22 cities in India are set to run out of water by 2025, while a lack of toilets means about 12% of the Indian population still practice open defecation.

Creating returns that benefit the world we live in
Creating returns that benefit the world we live in
Sustainable investing

The pricing problem

One contributor to the problem is that despite its status as a vital and in some cases rare commodity, water is largely underpriced in the world. Many companies are able to extract vast quantities of water from the local mains or river for use in their processes at little cost, which gives them no incentive to use it more efficiently. Waste water can often be discarded into rivers also without cost, endangering the purity of future supplies. To address this, many have called for greater regulation and a coherent pricing system.

For investors interested in tapping into the topic, Robeco offers a Sustainable Water strategy that buys the equities of companies offering products and services that address the challenges related to the quantity, quality and allocation of water. Its main focus area is seeking those companies providing solutions along the water value chain, from irrigation and infrastructure to sophisticated water testing and analytics.

Reducing water shortages requires substantial investments in technologies and infrastructure that enable efficient management and treatment of water supplies. This includes the creation of more efficient irrigation systems to the installation of pipeline networks that can efficiently distribute water to population centers. Up to 20% of water through pipelines is currently lost through leaks and burst mains, particularly in urban centers where the pipes have not been replaced for decades.

Bottled water sustainability

Refill your water bottle: a sub-theme within water sustainability is bottled water, for which the problem is not availability, but what to do with the bottles once they are used. Before the coronavirus pandemic, one million water bottles were being purchased every minute, and 80% of them are single use. Much of what is wasted ends up in the oceans. 

Robeco supports the Refill campaign, a UK organization which aims to drastically reduce single-use water bottle consumption by encouraging people to refill their bottles with tap water instead. Its success has so far stopped more than 100 million plastic bottles from entering the waste stream. Thousands of shops and other high street outlets have signed up to offer water at their premises, and the scheme was extended to cover railway stations and airports.

See also: Food sustainability, Resource sustainability, Circular economy.

Good cop, bad cop? Our hopes for real action at COP26
Good cop, bad cop? Our hopes for real action at COP26
The most important conference on climate change is about to take place, six years after the Paris Agreement was signed.
08-09-2021 | Insight
The CO₂lumnist: Should derivatives have a carbon footprint?
The CO₂lumnist: Should derivatives have a carbon footprint?
Investors rely on data to make decisions on climate strategy, but who should be responsible for emissions – the creator or the user?
02-09-2021 | Column
UN treaty on plastic pollution needed to combat waste
UN treaty on plastic pollution needed to combat waste
Robeco is backing calls for a new global treaty that commits nations to ending the plastic waste tsunami.
17-08-2021 | Insight
Logo

Disclaimers

1. General
Please read this information carefully.

This website is prepared and issued by Robeco Hong Kong Limited ("Robeco"), which is a corporation licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong to engage in Type 1 (dealing in securities); Type 4 (advising in securities) and Type 9 (asset management) regulated activities. The Company does not hold client assets and is subject to the licensing condition that it shall seek the SFC’s prior approval before extending services at retail level. This website has not been reviewed by the Securities and Futures Commission or any regulatory authority in Hong Kong.

2. Important risk disclosures
2. Important risk disclosures Robeco Capital Growth Funds (“the Funds”) are distinguished by their respective specific investment policies or any other specific features. Please read carefully for the risks of the Funds:

  • Some Funds are subject to investment, market, equities, liquidity, counterparty, securities lending and foreign currency risk and risk associated with investments in small and/or mid-capped companies.
  • Some Funds are subject to the risks of investing in emerging markets which include political, economic, legal, regulatory, market, settlement, execution, counterparty and currency risks.
  • Some Funds may invest in China A shares directly through the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (“QFII”) scheme and / or RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (“RQFII”) scheme and / or Stock Connect programmes which may entail additional clearing and settlement, regulatory, operational, counterparty and liquidity risk.
  • For distributing share classes, some Funds may pay out dividend distributions out of capital. Where distributions are paid out of capital, this amounts to a return or withdrawal of part of your original investment or capital gains attributable to that and may result in an immediate decrease in the net asset value of shares.
  • Some Funds’ investments maybe concentrated in one region / one country / one sector / around one theme and therefore the value of the Fund may be more volatile and may be subject to concentration risk.
  • The risk exists that the quantitative techniques used by some Funds may not work and the Funds’ value may be adversely affected.
  • In addition to investment, market, liquidity, counterparty, securities lending, (reverse) repurchase agreements and foreign currency risk, some Funds are subject to risk associated with fixed income investments like credit risk, interest rate risk, convertible bonds risk, ABS risk and the risk of investments in non-investment grade or unrated securities and the risk of investments made in non-investment grade sovereign securities.
  • Some Funds can use derivatives extensively. Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities can use derivatives for hedging and efficient portfolio management. Derivatives exposure may involve higher counterparty, liquidity and valuation risks. In adverse situations, the Funds may suffer significant losses (even a total loss of the Funds’ assets) from its derivative usage.
  • Robeco European High Yield Bonds is subject to Eurozone risk.
  • Investors may suffer substantial losses of their investments in the Funds. Investor should not invest in the Funds solely based on the information provided in this document and should read the offering documents (including potential risks involved) for details.

3. Local legal and sales restrictions
The Website is to be accessed by “professional investors” only (as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap.571) and/or the Securities and Futures (Professional Investors) Rules (Cap.571D) under the laws of Hong Kong). The Website is not directed at any person in any jurisdiction where (by reason of that person’s nationality, residence or otherwise) the publication or availability of the Website is prohibited. Persons in respect of whom such prohibitions apply or persons other than those specified above must not access this Website. Persons accessing the Website need to be aware that they are responsible themselves for the compliance with all local rules and regulations. By accessing this Website and any of its pages, you acknowledge your agreement with understanding of the following terms of use and legal information. If you do not agree to the terms and conditions below, do not access this Website or any pages thereof.

The information contained in the Website is being provided for information purposes.

Neither information nor any opinion expressed on the Website constitutes a solicitation, an offer or a recommendation to buy, sell or dispose of any investment, to engage in any other transaction or to provide any investment advice or service. The information contained in the Website does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation and was prepared without regard to the specific objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person who may receive it. An investment in a Robeco product should only be made after reading the related legal documents such as management regulations, prospectuses, most recent annual and semi-annual reports, which can be all be obtained free of charge at www.robeco.com/hk/en and at the Robeco Hong Kong office.

4. Use of the Website
The information is based on certain assumptions, information and conditions applicable at a certain time and may be subject to change at any time without notice. Robeco aims to provide accurate, complete and up-to-date information, obtained from sources of information believed to be reliable. Persons accessing the Website are responsible for their choice and use of the information.

5. Investment performance
No assurance can be given that the investment objective of any investment products will be achieved. No representation or promise as to the performance of any investment products or the return on an investment is made. The value of your investments may fluctuate. The value of the assets of Robeco investment products may also fluctuate as a result of the investment policy and/or the developments on the financial markets. Results obtained in the past are no guarantee for the future. Past performance, projection, or forecast included in this Website should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of future performance, and no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding future performance. Fund performance figures are based on the month-end trading prices and are calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested. Return figures versus the benchmark show the investment management result before management and/or performance fees; the fund returns are with dividends reinvested and based on net asset values with prices and exchange rates of the valuation moment of the benchmark.
Investments involve risks. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Potential investors should read the terms and conditions contained in the relevant offering documents and in particular the investment policies and the risk factors before any investment decision is made. Investors should ensure they fully understand the risks associated with the fund and should also consider their own investment objective and risk tolerance level. Investors are reminded that the value and income (if any) from shares of the fund may be volatile and could change substantially within a short period of time, and investors may not get back the amount they have invested in the fund. If in doubt, please seek independent financial and professional advice.

6. Third party websites
This website includes material from third parties or links to websites maintained by third parties some of which is supplied by companies that are not affiliated to Robeco. Following links to any other off-site pages or websites of third parties shall be at the own risk of the person following such link. Robeco has not reviewed any of the websites linked to or referred to by the Website and does not endorse or accept any responsibility for their content nor the products, services or other items offered through them. Robeco shall have no liability for any losses or damages arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained on websites of third parties, including, without limitation, any loss of profit or any other direct or indirect damage. Third party off-site pages or websites are provided for informational purposes only.

7. Limitation of liability
Robeco as well as (possible) other suppliers of information to the Website accept no responsibility for the contents of the Website or the information or recommendations contained herein, which moreover may be changed without notice.
Robeco assumes no responsibility for ensuring, and makes no warranty, that the functioning of the Website will be uninterrupted or error-free. Robeco assumes no responsibility for the consequences of e-mail messages regarding a Robeco (transaction) service, which either cannot be received or sent, are damaged, received or sent incorrectly, or not received or sent on time.
Neither will Robeco be liable for any loss or damage that may result from access to and use of the Website.

8. Intellectual property
All copyrights, patents, intellectual and other property, and licenses regarding the information on the Website are held and obtained by Robeco. These rights will not be passed to persons accessing this information.

9. Privacy
Robeco guarantees that the data of persons accessing the Website will be treated confidentially in accordance with prevailing data protection regulations. Such data will not be made available to third parties without the approval of the persons accessing the Website, unless Robeco is legally obliged to do so. Please find more details in our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

10. Applicable law
The Website shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong. All disputes arising out of or in connection with the Website shall be submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Hong Kong. 

Please click the “I agree” button if you have read and understood this page and agree to the Disclaimers above and the collection and use of your personal data by Robeco, for the purposes for which such data is collected and used as set out in the Privacy and Cookie Policy, including for the purpose of direct marketing of Robeco products or services. Otherwise, please click “I Disagree” to leave the website.

I Disagree