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Sustainable Investing Glossary

Positive screening

Investing in companies that show leadership in social and environmental issues, such as employee policies, environmental protection or human rights.

Positive (or affirmative) screening means that rather than excluding companies, investors select companies that set positive examples of environmentally friendly products and socially responsible business practices. Unlike negative screens, which are generally more black and white, positive screens require an analysis of complex issues such as pollution, workplace practices, diversity and product safety. 

Part of a positively screened investment portfolio may consist of smaller companies that have come up with innovative products that enhance the world’s sustainability. Examples are companies generating renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power, and hydrogen fuel cells; manufacturers of natural food and healthy living products; and companies involved in environmental clean-up and recycling. 

A well-diversified portfolio also requires large and medium-sized companies. Larger companies, and the problems they face, are more complex. Positive screening can help determine which of these large companies are heading in a positive direction. Mutual funds and other institutions often use a ‘best-in-class’ approach to positively screen companies. This means that they can include a tobacco company that is showing leadership in its industry, despite the overall record of that particular industry.

Making better-informed investment decisions
Making better-informed investment decisions
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Disclaimer

This page is intended for US prospects, clients and investors only and includes information about the capabilities, staffing and history of RIAM US and its participating affiliates, which may include information on strategies not yet available in the US. SEC regulations are applicable only to clients, prospects and investors of RIAM US. Robeco BV, Robeco HK and Robeco SH are considered a “participating affiliate” of RIAM US and some of their employees are “associated persons” of RIAM US as per relevant SEC no-action guidance. Employees identified as associated persons of RIAM US perform activities directly or indirectly related to the investment advisory services provided by RIAM US. In those situations, these individuals are deemed to be acting on behalf of IUAM, a US SEC registered investment adviser.

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