The fund rating agency has developed a new qualitative measure called the Morningstar ESG Commitment Level which aims to identify the extent of commitment to environmental, social and governance factors within individual strategies and across the organization. It uses a four-tier scale: leader, advanced, basic and low.
Its first round of evaluations consisted of 40 asset managers and 107 individual strategies from across the globe. Robeco was awarded the top accolade of leader status. Three Robeco funds achieved the ‘advanced’ rating for ESG commitment.
In assessing each asset manager, three pillars were used, and then rolled into the overall ESG Commitment Level. This gave a 40% weighting to a firm’s philosophy and process, 30% to the resources it devoted to sustainability, and 30% for its commitment to active ownership.
Out of the 107 strategies assessed, Robeco Sustainable European Stars, RobecoSAM Smart Energy and RobecoSAM Sustainable Water were given advanced status. The criteria for this included the ability to deliver desirable ESG outcomes at the portfolio level, such as lower carbon emissions relative to a market benchmark, or advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Morningstar ESG Commitment Level will ultimately be provided for all strategies for which the firm produces its Morningstar Analyst Rating for funds.
“ESG is integrated across all asset classes at Robeco, exemplifying its strong commitment to sustainable investing,” Morningstar said. “The investment teams on both sides closely collaborate with the firm’s 37 sustainability experts, ensuring that ESG is well-integrated in their investment processes and monitored in the portfolios.”
A pioneer of sustainable investing since the mid-1990s, Robeco has operated an active ownership team since 2005 and has integrated ESG into the investment process since 2010. ESG is now integrated into the entire range of fundamental equity, fixed income, quantitative and bespoke sustainability strategies, representing EUR 144 billion of assets under management at June 2020.
“Morningstar awarding us this status confirms our leadership in sustainable investing,” says Carola van Lamoen, Head of the Robeco Sustainable Investing Center of Expertise. “This reflects the hard work of many colleagues, in building out our research, ESG integration and active ownership activities, and furthering our overall sustainable investing approach.”
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