We believe that a constructive and effective active ownership program can encourage companies to improve their management of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks, which in turn helps decrease costs, enhancing competitiveness and profitability. As a result, active ownership helps investors maximize shareholder value and enhance long-term returns.
To exercise our shareholder rights, we rely on the expertise of our colleagues on Robeco’s Governance & Active Ownership team, which votes at shareholder meetings on behalf of all of RobecoSAM’s investment funds, and engages with the senior management of listed companies to address ESG issues on behalf of our clients.
Engagement primarily focuses on financially material sustainability themes and the elimination of severe breaches in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and bribery & corruption. These themes are selected in cooperation with analysts and portfolio managers, based on the financial materiality analysis conducted by RobecoSAM’s Sustainability Investing Research team. For each engagement theme, the Governance & Active Ownership team sets concrete, measurable engagement objectives, and engagements typically run over a three-year period, during which companies’ progress is tracked.
The Governance & Active Ownership team votes at approximately 5,000 shareholder meetings each year, with a focus on high-profile cases such as remuneration, mergers & acquisitions, significant holdings, companies under engagement, and ESG issues.