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Sustainable Investing Glossary

ESG definition

What is the definition of ESG?  ESG means using Environmental, Social and Governance factors to evaluate companies and countries on how far advanced they are with sustainability. Once enough data has been acquired on these three metrics, they can be integrated into the investment process when deciding what equities or bonds to buy.

ESG factors: Environmental

Environmental factors include the contribution a company or government makes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, along with waste management and energy efficiency. Given renewed efforts to combat global warming, cutting emissions and decarbonizing is become more important.

ESG investing
ESG investing
We integrate environmental, social and governance criteria into the majority of our investment processes.
More about ESG investing

ESG factors: Social

Social include human rights, labor standards in the supply chain, any exposure to illegal child labor, and more routine issues such as adherence to workplace health and safety. A social score also rises if a company is well integrated with its local community and therefore has a ‘social license’ to operate with consent.

ESG factors: Governance

Governance refers to a set of rules or principles defining rights, responsibilities and expectations between different stakeholders in the governance of corporations. A well-defined corporate governance system can be used to balance or align interests between stakeholders and can work as a tool to support a company’s long-term strategy. 

Governance can also refer to the standard of government of nations. Robeco measures ESG levels using RobecoSAM’s proprietary Corporate Sustainability Assessment for companies, and Country Sustainability Ranking for governments, to give overall ESG scores. There is some crossover between the two, particularly for multinational companies.

Also read: ESG funds

Robeco and RobecoSAM again receive top PRI scores
Robeco and RobecoSAM again receive top PRI scores
Robeco and RobecoSAM have again been awarded the highest possible sustainability scores by the Principles for Responsible Investment.
04-08-2020 | インサイト
Pioneering climate engagement leads Q2 Active Ownership report
Pioneering climate engagement leads Q2 Active Ownership report
It was full steam ahead for Robeco’s Active Ownership team in the second quarter, despite the restrictions brought by Covid-19.
31-07-2020 | Active Ownership Report
Sugar’s role in coronavirus fatalities
Sugar’s role in coronavirus fatalities
The sugar content of food and drinks played an unseen role in the Covid-19 death toll, says engagement specialist Peter van der Werf.
29-07-2020 | インサイト