Francis Condon, Senior Analyst Mining/Oil & Gas, RobecoSAM, discusses how the investment community is responding to climate change and explores viable alternatives divestment.
RobecoSAM recognizes that climate change is currently the largest and most complex of sustainability issues, and is linked to many other sustainability challenges facing the world today, such as water scarcity, sustainable agribusiness, and resource efficiency.
The global divestment campaign aimed at fossil fuels has placed a spotlight on the role of asset owners and managers, but the investment industry is still adjusting to the magnitude of this challenge. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project reports that among the top 500 asset owners, only 7% are able to calculate the emissions associated with their portfolios; only 1.4% of asset owners have reduced the carbon intensity of their investments over the last year, and only 2% have an emissions intensity reduction target for the coming year. Clearly, new approaches are needed to tackle this issue effectively.
RobecoSAM is keen to play its part in addressing this most complex of sustainability challenges and is tackling the issue on multiple fronts.
As an asset manager, our mission is to achieve maximum returns for minimum risk while also delivering thought leadership and actions supporting sustainability investing. With respect to climate change, several of our thematic strategies already do this by identifying and investing in companies that enable a more efficient use of energy and natural resources. We have now broadened this approach with a focus on reducing the carbon impact of our portfolios while exploring avenues for selective engagement. In addition, we are providing fossil fuel exclusion services as part of our tailored client solutions.
In June 2015, RobecoSAM became a signatory of the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition. In this context, we have published the paper “Investing in Response to Climate Change: RobecoSAM’s toolkit” outlining our commitments to