Measuring intangibles

RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment

Benchmarking corporate sustainability performance

RobecoSAM believes that financial analysis is not complete if it ignores material extra-financial factors. The Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) is RobecoSAM’s main tool for identifying companies that are better equipped to identify and respond to emerging opportunities and risks resulting from global sustainability trends.

The CSA consists of an annual analysis of the sustainability performance of more than 2,000 companies covering the major indices. Following on from the first CSA conducted in 1999, RobecoSAM has built one of the largest proprietary databases for corporate sustainability.

A systematic methodology
The annual assessment is based on an online questionnaire supported by extensive company documentation. Thorough analyses of company-specific information are complemented by an additional examination of media coverage, stakeholder commentaries and other publicly available sources, provided by RepRisk ESG Business Intelligence. On a daily basis, RepRisk screens, captures, filters and analyzes environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks related to companies in 14 languages from a wide range of external stakeholders and third parties.

The CSA questionnaire features about 100 questions on economic, environmental and social issues with a focus on industry-specific criteria that have a material impact on companies’ ability to generate long-term value. The CSA is regularly updated and adapted to capture new sustainability trends that are at the forefront of each industry sector and that are likely to have an impact on companies’ competitive landscape.

Foundation for superior investment performance
The CSA results serve as the basis for the construction of the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) as well as for RobecoSAM’s investment strategies and Robeco’s ESG integration practices across its product range.

RobecoSAM's in-house empirical analysis of data collected over the years in RobecoSAM’s proprietary database suggests that there is a positive correlation between corporate sustainability and financial performance. This finding highlights the superior alpha potential of sustainability investing.

Incentive for more sustainable business practices
Companies that participate in the CSA receive a Company Benchmarking Scorecard comparing their sustainability performance to that of their industry peers. Many firms use the assessment to identify gaps and initiate improvements in their business practices. The possibility of being included in the prestigious DJSI also serves as a strong incentive for companies to continually benchmark and improve their sustainability performance.