Net zero carbon ambition leads Q4 Active Ownership report

Net zero carbon ambition leads Q4 Active Ownership report

29-01-2021 | Active Ownership Report
Decarbonizing industry to meet net zero ambitions leads the coverage in Robeco’s Q4 Active Ownership report.
  • Carola van Lamoen
    van Lamoen
    Head of Sustainable Investing

Speed read

  • Net zero carbon emissions program aims to decarbonize high emitters
  • Executive pay, banking and artificial intelligence discussed in report
  • Global biodiversity engagement focuses on deforestation for crops 

A new ‘Net Zero Carbon Emissions’ engagement program launched in the fourth quarter of 2020 focuses on high-emitting industries that need to transition to lower-carbon business models. In her opening report, Sylvia van Waveren explains the ambitions of a program that will run for three years.

The thorny issue of executive pay is seen by many as a topic of social justice, but it is also an important issue for investors. Michiel van Esch explains how Robeco aims to better align remuneration practices with stakeholder expectations.

Remuneration is also an issue in banking, prompting Robeco to extend its three-year engagement program for another year. Robeco is engaging with nine banks focusing on culture, incentives and risk governance. Van Esch and Cristina Cedillo explain the rationale for extending the dialogue.

Active ownership
Active ownership

Active Ownership is a key tenet of sustainable investing, which has been part of Robeco’s DNA for decades.

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Challenges of AI

Although the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) are promising, the technology also comes with a set of challenges, including threats to civil liberties. After the first year of engagement with companies on the topic, Danielle Essink takes stock of the developments.

Global biodiversity was a new engagement program for 2020, as the team believes humanity is facing the sixth mass extinction, which could mean one million species being wiped out by the end of the century. Laura Bosch outlines how the program is focused on biodiversity loss driven by deforestation due to unsustainable crop production.

In the final report, Antonis Mantsokis provides an insight into the current developments around diversity in firms, particularly within the board of directors.

Turbulent times

“Although turbulent and challenging, we look back on 2020 as another successful year for Robeco’s Active Ownership activities,” says Carola van Lamoen, Head of Sustainable Investing. “We continued our engagement work, despite the changed work environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Several engagement themes were launched. Our new biodiversity theme picked up pace in the fourth quarter, focusing on companies with supply chains exposed to high-risk commodities such as cocoa, natural rubber, soy, beef, and tropical timber and pulp.”

“And we reinforced our focus on climate, with the launch of our new Net Zero Carbon Emissions theme.  After a unique year in which the world has shown immense resilience, we believe active ownership will be as important as ever in a sustainable recovery.”

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