2015 Corporate Sustainability Assessment*
data points collected.
* as of November 30, 2015
Message from the CEO
Michael Baldinger, Chief Executive Officer RobecoSAM
“Sustainability Investing has the extraordinary power to shape the world we want to live in while generating financial returns for our clients.”
The 2016 edition of The Sustainability Yearbook is the culmination of 20 years of innovations in Sustainability Investing (SI). And while over the past year we have proudly celebrated our firm’s 20th Anniversary, we have also used this milestone as an opportunity to reflect on how Sustainability Investing has shaped finance, how RobecoSAM has contributed to its development, and to envision how we can continue to shape the Sustainability Investing industry over the next 20 years.
Many of our innovations and contributions have been a direct result of our Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA). Therefore, this year’s publication takes a closer look at how the CSA has evolved over the years. What started out as a paper-based questionnaire has now grown into one of the world’s most extensive corporate sustainability databases. Based on rigorous research and continuous dialogue with thousands of companies, we have continuously refined our methodology to ensure that our analysis remains focused on financially material criteria. In a visually engaging historical timeline, Manjit Jus, Head of Sustainability Application and Operations at RobecoSAM, walks us through some of the key innovations to the questionnaire as well as some of the major global events that have influenced our CSA methodology over time.
Most companies are aware that the results of the CSA determine the components of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) as well as the members of The Sustainability Yearbook. But what else do we do with all of this information that we collect year in and year out? It may come as a surprise to some, but the outputs of the CSA serve a wide range of applications beyond the DJSI. Not only are the insights from the CSA fully integrated into our asset management offering, they are also the starting point for many of our innovations in Sustainability Investing. In short, the CSA is really at the heart of our company. With this in mind, we take you behind the scenes and illustrate how the outputs from the CSA power all of the asset management and research gears within the RobecoSAM organization, resulting in a range of products and services specifically tailored to meet our clients’ Sustainability Investing ambitions.
Building on the theme of innovation, Christopher Greenwald, Head of Sustainability Investing Research, highlights some of the turning points in our firm’s history of innovation, demonstrating how RobecoSAM’s unique position at the intersection between companies and financial performance has enabled us to shape the Sustainability Investing industry.
But we’re not ones to rest on our laurels, and over the past year we have also been hard at work developing the next generation of SI innovations. One of this year’s most exciting developments is our enhanced sustainability scoring methodology – or Smart ESG – which will enable us to integrate sustainability into an ever growing asset base. And as a growing number of investors wish to make a positive societal impact, we have leveraged our sustainability database to expand our range of environmental and social impact solutions.
As always, The Sustainability Yearbook also provides an overview of the results of our annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment and highlights key trends shaping each of the 59 analyzed industries. The top scoring company in each industry is named the RobecoSAM Industry Leader, and companies listed in the Yearbook are classified into three categories: RobecoSAM Gold Class, RobecoSAM Silver Class and RobecoSAM Bronze Class.
A record-breaking number of companies took part in this year’s assessment, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. None of our achievements or innovations over the past 20 years would have been possible without the efforts of the companies who year after year, take the time to complete our Corporate Sustainability Assessment. The companies’ responses to our questionnaire help us understand how their businesses impact our planet and society at large, and in turn, Sustainability Investing has the extraordinary power to shape the world we want to live in while generating financial returns for our clients. For this reason, we remain committed to asking companies the right questions that will guide us through the next generation of Sustainability Investing innovations. I’m excited to see where these innovations will take us in the next 20 years.