Stockholm (NordSIP) – In a world where asset managers play a crucial role in facilitating the funding necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), hiding behind proprietary intellectual property law walls to charge clients for expertise is counter to the spirit of sustainable investing. The inspiration for ESG investing should be Tesla’s patents, Volvo’s seatbelts and Fleming’s attitude to Penicillin.
In this spirit, and as part of its Sustainable Investing Open Access Initiative, Dutch asset manager Robeco is opening up its Sustainable Investing Intellectual Property. As a first step, clients and a group of academics will gain free access to Robeco’s SDG scores based on the asset manager’s proprietary SDG framework.
Created in 2017, the SDG framework allows Robeco to quantify an investible company’s contribution to the SDGs. Data quality is one of the biggest challenges in sustainable investing and opening up its framework allows Robeco to further contribute to the SDGs by eventually making its data available to clients and academics before hoping to make other SI data and IP available to a broader set of stakeholders.
“This initiative is right in line with our firm belief in a data and research-driven approach. We were among the first asset managers to construct an effective framework for mapping and measuring SDG contributions that can be applied across investment portfolios. Traditionally asset managers tend to protect intellectual property and use it to add value to their proprietary investment processes. Yet the massive challenges our planet is facing require a different approach. We need to join forces to address these challenges properly. By opening up our SDG data to a broader audience we aim to contribute to improving quality and standards setting across the industry,” Victor Verberk, CIO Fixed Income and Sustainability says.
The SDG framework is used for many of Robeco’s client portfolios, including UBS Global Wealth Management, BBVA AM and pensioenfonds ING, who are all keen supporters of Robeco’s SI Open Access initiative.
“We consider this is a landmark move which will bring the sustainable investing industry a step further. Granting clients and academics access to our SDG data and methodology is only the first step. With SDG data clients can measure progress over time against sustainable objectives, steer on exposure to SDGs, and report on them. Robeco is a research-driven investor. We base our investment decisions on empirical research and believe that this also applies to sustainable investing. Furthermore, by publishing our SDG scores we aim to enable academics to develop new insights. We therefore invite them to actively share their feedback on our SDG data and methodology,” Carola van Lamoen, Head of Sustainable Investing concludes.