In a round-up of the main achievements of 2019, Head of Sustainability Integration Masja Zandbergen points to a number of factors that enabled the two firms to maintain their dominant market positions.
One highlight was refocusing our ranges of sustainability solutions into three categories to make it easier for investors to see what we do. These are the Sustainability Inside range of funds, the Sustainable Focus suite, and Impact Investing strategies.
The majority of Robeco funds fall into the Sustainability Inside range, in which environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are fully integrated into the investment process for fundamental equities, fixed income and quantitative products.
Sustainability Focus strategies go further by containing an explicit sustainability target such as gaining a better carbon footprint than the benchmark. Impact Investing strategies aim to contribute to certain themes such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Such was the demand for SI solutions that sustainably managed assets increased in 2019 to EUR 149 billion, now accounting for 86% of all the assets under management at Robeco and RobecoSAM. Our long commitment to research was enhanced further, for example by upgrading the proprietary Country Sustainability Ranking with new data sources, and expanding its scope from 65 nations to 125.
Some new SI strategies were launched in the fields of sustainable global equities, real estate and government bonds. We were also proud to win multi-billion euro mandates from clients looking to combine our expertise in sustainability with another core strength – factor investing.
Our global reputation for SI was upheld when both Robeco and RobecoSAM were once again awarded the highest A+ ratings by the Principles for Responsible Investment in almost all categories. After decades of work in perfecting our approach to all-things SI, this annual endorsement is much cherished.
And the battle against global warming was given a higher focus, with the creation of a new risk management framework to look at climate change risk in all its forms, and the establishment of a portfolio decarbonization pathway.
Meanwhile, Robeco’s Active Ownership team continued to set new records for voting and engagement activities. This year it’s work literally went into orbit, signing a deal to access satellite imagery to check up on deforestation in palm oil plantations.