japanja
It’s not all black and white when it comes to SDGs

It’s not all black and white when it comes to SDGs

12-12-2018 | インサイト

Measuring a company’s contribution to the UN SDGs is not that straightforward. In an earlier article, we outlined Robeco’s three-step approach, in this article we look more closely at some of the difficulties associated with the first step, which links products and services offered by companies to the SDGs and assesses their contribution.

  • Taeke  Wiersma
    Taeke
    Wiersma
    Co-head Credit Research

Speed read

  • Broad range of issues means SDGs can have conflicting effects
  • Weaker SDG sectors still contain issuers with positive impact
  • SDG investment strategy requires consistent approach

There are 17 main SDGs and 169 sub targets which address a very broad range of issues and which sometimes have conflicting impacts on each other. This means implementing this first step is not so straightforward. Those companies that make a more indirect contribution to achieving the goals, could be eliminated from the selection process prematurely in an approach that does not look beyond their core activities.

最新の「インサイト」を読む
最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

Gray areas

Although the goals themselves appear to be fairly clear cut, it is perhaps surprising how many gray areas there are when it comes to assessing sectors and individual companies. The agrochemical industry is a good case in point. On the one hand, crop-protection products improve agricultural yields significantly, which is very beneficial for SDG 2 (zero hunger). But pesticides are increasingly criticized for contaminating the environment and so also have a negative association when it comes to other SDGs. Firms manufacturing plastic food packaging are another example. They help prolong the shelf life of products – again beneficial for SDG 2 (zero hunger), but also create waste products that have a negative impact on the environment.

The list goes on. How should firms be dealt with that engage in heavily polluting activities (extracting oil, shale gas) but take issues like gender equality (SDG 5) and health and safety (one of the sub goals of SDG 8) extremely seriously? Moves to shut down or wind up coal mines or nuclear power generators are very beneficial for SDG 7 (clean energy) but cause unemployment, something that can have a material negative impact on SDG 1 (zero poverty), especially in developing economies.

There is more to creating an SDG-linked investment universe than simply looking at what companies do

A sector approach?

Although there are a few sectors that make an outright negative contribution to the SDGs (tobacco, gaming, aerospace/defense), in most cases, it is not so clear cut. The electric utilities sector contains both coal fired generators and electricity producers that rely heavily on renewables. Firms in the latter category should receive high SDG rankings, while those that depend more heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear power are likely to be assigned negative SDG scores.

The automotive sector is another good example. Most car manufacturers still have a negative/medium SDG ranking because they have not yet attained the electric vehicle/hybrid production thresholds. But this sector also includes trucks which play an essential role when it comes to the distribution of food and other basic materials, while some car-parts suppliers also positively contribute to SDGS, depending on their products (efficiency enhancing, safety supporting, for example). A sub-goal of SDG 3 (good health & well-being) targets a 50% reduction in traffic-related deaths and injuries globally in 2020.

By taking a black and white sector approach, companies within a ‘negative’ sector that handle other aspects of their business well – environmental impact, labor relations, supply chain considerations, for example – are automatically eliminated too.

Robeco’s SDG framework

There is more to creating an SDG-linked investment universe than simply looking at what companies do. RobecoSAM’s proprietary SDG framework looks beyond this to evaluate how they do it. This ensures that companies operating in sectors that may not appear to contribute to realizing the SDGs are not excluded and can be evaluated on the basis of other aspects of their business, resulting in an SDG score for an individual company that reflects its true contribution to the goals and a well-balanced investment universe. Robeco’s credit analysts and RobecoSAM’s SI specialists have used their framework to assess a diversified credit universe of almost 600 names – in investment grade, high yield, and emerging segments across a broad range of sectors.

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会