Robeco, The Investments Engineers
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Climate investing

Opportunity

From bushfires to retreating glaciers – climate change sometimes feels overwhelming. But out of adversity comes opportunity. We can invest in the companies that are part of the transition to a low-carbon world, from renewables and smart technology, to carbon capture and reforestation. All the main asset classes, from equities to the growing market for green bonds, can generate returns while making a serous contribution toward net zero.

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45%

of investors globally say they are pursuing active equity strategies that specifically target allocations to transition-orientated companies. The proportion rises to 54% of European and Asia-Pacific investors.

43%

of investors globally are investing in green bonds or sustainability-related fixed income products. This proportion also rises to 51 and 52% of European and APAC investors, respectively.

While almost half of investors see a clear pathway to equities or bonds targeting transition, much more of this is being focused on developed economies rather than emerging markets. The Global Climate Investing Survey also revealed that 50% of investors were investing through funds in commercially mature climate solutions in developed markets, while only 29% were pursuing the same thing in emerging markets.

This trend was even more pronounced in Asia-Pacific – which are predominantly emerging markets – where 60% of investors were targeting products in developed markets rather than in their own locales. Only 34% of APAC investors were pursuing funds in their own or other emerging markets.

Climate investing is more than just the next big thing

Lucian Peppelenbos (Climate Strategist) and Carola van Lamoen (Head of Sustainable Investing) look at climate change and climate investing from all angles. Listen to the trailer or to the full 25-minute podcast.

The winners and losers in the low-carbon transition

Few things are more disruptive than losing your business. Just as trains replaced horses and digital photos replaced film, those companies not taking climate change seriously are unlikely to survive.

Meeting net zero carbon goals by 2050 requires decarbonization on a global scale. Its scope will range from switching from coal-fired power stations to wind farms, to electrifying vehicles, insulating every building and making agriculture more efficient.

This will produce many winners, particularly among those companies that form part of the many technological solutions to climate change. These can be found in arenas such as renewable energy infrastructure, carbon capture systems and recycling techniques.

Ultimately it means moving to a circular economy to reduce the manufacturing processes that generate carbon in the first place.

And there will also be losers – those companies that are too slow to adapt to the need to move to lower-carbon business models over the coming decade. As regulation gets tougher and consumer tastes change in favor of more climate-friendly products, these companies will eventually be the ones still selling horses when the railroad has arrived.

Decarbonizing as the yardstick

Separating the wheat from the chaff is the job of any asset manager who is serious about performance. One way in which this is done is by measuring how well a company is doing in decarbonizing its business model, using metrics that measure greenhouse gas emissions, energy used for heating and waste produced during the production process.

For example, many car manufacturers have already announced plans to have an all-electric model range by 2030, to avoid their businesses becoming obsolete when governments eventually ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the roads. These will be the winners, while auto makers still offering internal combustion engines in a decade’s time are likely to be shunned by investors.

Airlines offer a different example. Battery-powered aircraft are currently not possible, since the weight of the battery needed to generate the power for take-off would be three times the weight of a modern jetliner. Instead, they are switching from four-engine aircraft to more fuel-efficient twin-engine planes, and many have announced plans to ditch their fleets of the iconic four-engine Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

For energy companies, it is a different story again, since the world will remain reliant on oil and gas for many years to come. This means the winners in this industry are increasingly viewed as those whose business models are transitioning towards wind and solar power, for when the oil and gas either runs out, or can no longer be sold.

Hydrogen power — between hype and hope

Decarbonizing national economies is central to government plans. But significant challenges sit between hydrogen’s potential and its uptake and use across sectors. In road transport, better economic and more sustainable options already exist.

Read the full article

Pioneers: from green certificates to climate bonds

In times of great change, you need to be able to rely on people who not only have the passion for sustainability, but also a long track record of implementing it.

As a pioneer of sustainable investing, Robeco has been at the forefront of providing sustainability solutions since the mid-1990s, when the environmental movement first started to gain ground. Our dedication to creating investment products that can bring about change continues to this day.
Here we take a trip down memory lane to highlight the many firsts that Robeco has notched up:

  • In 1994, Robeco launched the world’s first sustainable investment product, the ‘Groencertificaten’ (Green Certificates), for Dutch retail investors.

  • Five years later, we launched Europe’s first dedicated SI equity strategy, in 1999.

  • The use of engagement began in 2005 with the creation of a bespoke Active Ownership team dedicated to voting at shareholder meetings and talking to companies about improving their ESG credentials.

  • Routinely integrating ESG factors into the investment decision-making process started in 2010; we are now the only mainstream asset manager in the world to use sustainability principles across the entire range of fundamental equity, fixed income and quant strategies.

  • Further innovation with the launch of impact investing strategies came along in the 2010s, targeting, among other things, renewable energy and the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 13 on climate action.

  • In 2020, Robeco launched the world’s first climate change fixed income strategies, investing in companies that make a direct contribution to tackling global warming. Our Climate Global Credits strategy invests in corporate bonds, while the Climate Global Bonds strategy invests in both credits and government bonds.


All of these developments have been backed by firm policies that are based on a commitment to help combat climate change. In line with the launch of the climate strategies, Robeco also committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across all its assets under management by 2050.

As for the future, we will continue to innovate, particularly in the areas of climate change, green bonds and the SDGs.

Due precisely to these storage and transport issues, most grey hydrogen used by utilities and industries used existing natural gas pipelines to deliver the gases needed to produce grey hydrogen at stationary plants on site. Graphic source, Inside EVs

Climate investing

Investing in bonds and striving to keep the global temperature rise well below 2°C.

Robeco’s first sustainable investment portfolio dates back more than 20 years. Today, from fixed income to equity solutions targeting the long-term effects of global warming, we’re also at the forefront of climate investing. By diving deeper to understand dynamics and impact, our comprehensive sustainability approach leads to better-informed investment decisions that also look after the world we live in.

Climate investing

How regulation promotes sustainable investing

Investing has always been subject to regulations, to protect end investors and maintain standards in a multi-trillion-dollar industry. What is new is a much larger commitment to promoting sustainable investing, led by sweeping European Union regulation.

Read the full article