Robeco Sets 2024 Engagement Goals: Focusing on Ocean Biodiversity, Hazardous Chemicals, and Sustainable Fashion
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Key Impact Points:
- Robeco’s 2024 engagement strategy focuses on four key areas: protecting ocean biodiversity by tackling issues like overfishing and deep-sea mining; eliminating hazardous “forever chemicals” like PFAS; enhancing climate action by setting stricter low-carbon standards for companies; and improving sustainability and labor practices in the fashion industry.
- This approach is driven by client priorities, particularly around climate change, and adopts a flexible, research-based method to continuously address emerging sustainability issues.
- Robeco aims to effect positive environmental and social change through active dialogue and collaboration with the companies in which it invests.
As the world grapples with environmental and social challenges, Robeco, a leader in sustainable investing, has announced its key engagement themes for 2024. These themes go beyond the usual suspects of climate change and human rights, delving into pressing concerns like ocean biodiversity and hazardous chemicals.
Protecting the Seas: A new theme tackles the crucial issue of ocean biodiversity. Six companies with significant impact on marine life, particularly in aquaculture and fisheries, will be engaged to address overfishing and pollution. Deep-sea mining, a contentious area with potential ecosystem-altering consequences, will also be under the microscope.
Banishing Forever Chemicals: Another novel theme targets the elimination of hazardous chemicals, especially PFAS, nicknamed “forever chemicals” due to their persistent pollution. Six companies responsible for their production will be engaged to find less harmful alternatives.
Climate in the Fast Lane: The existing “Acceleration to Paris” theme receives a boost in 2024. Minimum standards for transitioning to a low-carbon future will be set for 42 companies, with stricter deadlines for developed and emerging markets. A traffic light system will identify laggards, and intensive engagement will aim to expedite their progress.
Fashion with Compassion: Launched in 2023, the dedicated Fashion Engagement Equities strategy gets its own theme and analyst team. This reflects the industry’s significant sustainability challenges, including dangerous working conditions for garment workers. Engagement will focus on improving labor practices and environmental footprint.
Client-Driven Focus: These themes reflect extensive client input, demonstrating Robeco’s commitment to addressing their priorities. This includes increased focus on climate change, a core concern for many investors.
An Agile Approach: Robeco is moving away from time-bound theme cycles and adopting a more flexible approach. New companies will be added to specific themes based on ongoing investment and sustainability research, ensuring continuous engagement on emerging issues.
By delving deeper into critical areas like ocean health and chemical safety, Robeco’s 2024 engagement strategy showcases its commitment to driving positive change through active dialogue and collaboration with the companies it invests in.