This report shows public data only. Is this your organisation? If so, login here to view your full report.

RobecoSAM AG

PRI reporting framework 2018

You are in Direct - Listed Equity Incorporation » ESG incorporation in actively managed listed equities » Implementation processes

Implementation processes

LEI 01. Percentage of each incorporation strategy

New selection options have been added to this indicator. Please review your prefilled responses carefully.

01.1. Indicate (1) which ESG incorporation strategy and/or combination of strategies you apply to your actively managed listed equities and (2) the breakdown of your actively managed listed equities by strategy or combination of strategies (+/- 5%)

ESG incorporation strategy (select all that apply)

Percentage of active listed equity to which the strategy is applied
30 %
Percentage of active listed equity to which the strategy is applied
70 %
Total actively managed listed equities 100%

01.2. Describe your organisation’s approach to incorporation and the reasons for choosing the particular ESG incorporation strategy/strategies.

RobecoSAM applies an holistic approach towards Sustainability Investing. All products consider ESG information on the basis of combining screening and integration strategies to meet the objective of achieving superior returns by investing in companies that rank favourably on financial as well as on sustainability characteristics. Our investment philosophy is based on the core belief that sustainable companies will outperform their peers in the long-term. We collect, analyze, and integrate material ESG information into our fundamental investment approach.

RobecoSAM actively managed equities are divided in Core Equities and Thematic Equities:

Core Equities (e.g. RobecoSAM European Equities): Companies that anticipate and manage current & future economic, environmental and social opportunities and risks by focusing on quality, innovation and productivity (Corporate Excellence)

Thematic Equities (e.g. RobecoSAM Sustainable Water): Companies offering products & services that provide solutions to specific sustainability challenges with a positive environmental and social impact (Solution Providers)


Sustainable companies provide products and services that create value for society, both today and in the future. At RobecoSAM, we believe company performance is driven by sound business practices, efficiency improvements, and the creation of new solutions for the myriad of challenges facing society over the decades to come. By integrating under-researched, material, extra-financial information into our investment processes, we believe we can make better informed investment decisions.

As an asset manager, we have always focused on identifying financially relevant sustainability factors. For this reason, we have put considerable effort into developing and updating our materiality framework so that our analysts focus on those factors that are most relevant to the companies' financial performance. This helps us ensure that we integrate financially material sustainability factors into our investment process in a structured manner. Because these factors are relatively under-researched by most investors, our integration of financially material sustainability factors in the investment process allows us to make unique and better-informed investment decisions for the long-term.

01.3. If assets are managed using a combination of ESG incorporation strategies, briefly describe how these combinations are used. [Optional]

For our sustainability core strategies (European Equities, Global Equities, Global Small Cap), we use exclusions, positive screening and integration. Across all sector and industry groups we select the most sustainable companies for the construction of the eligible investment universe. This selection is done based on engineered sustainability data derived from our Corporate Sustainability Assessment (Smart ESG scores). In addition we apply a proprietary environmental overlay that identifies and removes companies with a high negative impact (GHG Emissions, Water, Waste and Energy consumption). Finally a number of standard exclusions are considered.

For the sustainability theme strategies, we use positive screening, integration and a thematic components. First, we screen the investment universe to identify companies that through their services and products respond to the sustainability challenges related to the respective theme. To become part of universe, at least 20% of a company's revenues should be assignable to the theme. Next, investment areas that include sustainability controversies (e.g. mining of lithium for electric car batteries) are analyzed in detail and specific thresholds defied that guide the decisions what companies remain eligible and what companies need to be removed. Finally,  number of standard exclusions are considered

LEI 02. Type of ESG information used in investment decision

02.1. Indicate what ESG information you use in your ESG incorporation strategies and who provides this information.

Type of ESG information

Indicate who provides this information  

Indicate who provides this information 

Indicate who provides this information 

Indicate who provides this information 

Indicate who provides this information 

Indicate who provides this information 

02.2. Provide a brief description of the ESG information used, highlighting any different sources of information across your ESG incorporation strategies.


Raw ESG Data are collected in-house via the annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), a proprietary methodology. The CSA includes approx. 4000 companies which are analysed on a yearly basis across a wide set of general and industry-specific data across the dimensions E, S & G. RobecoSAM has a specialized SI analyst team, organized by sectors, that is responsible for the development of its methodology, the identification of financially material sustainability factors and the formulation of company-specific question that go in the questionnaire, which builds the backbone of the CSA. A dedicated operations team manages the process of the CSA and provides the raw data to the investment team.

For company, sector or country data, RoboecoSAM with first priority builds on its in-house expertise but additionally uses external data providers such as sell-side brokers or special ESG provider such as RepRisk that is used for monitoring companies based on a media & stakeholder analysis.

RobecoSAM applies standard exclusions for weapons related military sales, firearms, controversial weapons, child labour, thermal coal and tobacco. For the screening of all investment universes and the application of additional (client specific) exclusions, RobecoSAM works with the specialized research provider Sustainalytics.

02.3. Indicate if you incentivise brokers to provide ESG research.

02.4. Describe how you incentivise brokers.

The quality of their research on sustainability themes or their ability to integrate sustainability factors in company-specific analysis is one of the criteria that influences our brokers voting process.

02.5. Additional information.[Optional]

LEI 03. Information from engagement and/or voting used in investment decision-making (Private)

(A) Implementation: Screening

LEI 04. Types of screening applied

04.1. Indicate and describe the type of screening you apply to your internally managed active listed equities.

Type of screening

Screened by



RobecoSAM's exclucion policy is published on its website:

In our view, companies that add value for society will deliver superior returns to their shareholders over the long -term. Conversely, firms that are lagging behind in this respect are likely to face headwinds from increasing regulation, public scrutiny, and reduced demand from customers. We believe that some business practices and products are detrimental to society, and therefore incompatible with sustainable investment strategies. RobecoSAM accordingly excludes from our investment universes companies whose practices breach the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and are unwilling or unable to change these practices even after active engagement. We also exclude firms with a significant exposure to damaging activities, such as the production of controversial weapons, firearms or tobacco or have exposure to military sales, child labour and thermal coal.




Screened by


For the sustainability core strategies, we use a "best in class" approach, which is based on our annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), to identify the most sustainable companies in each of the starting universes. In order to improve the environmental impact of the universe, our additional screening removes companies with a high negative exposure to GHG emissions, waste, energy and water.

As a basis for the fundamental sector and company research, RobecoSAM has developed a Materiality Framework that defines the financially most material factors in a sector. Based on this framework, companies are screened and analysed in order to identify possible investment opportunities. Such  factors include corporate governance practices, supply change management, innovation power and other environmental, social or economic indicators.

For the sustainability theme strategies, we create an investment universe that includes only "solutions-providers", i.e. companies that have a certain level of revenues derived from selling products and solutions that address a long-term sustainability challenge The attractiveness of sectors/industry groups and individual companies is assessed according to factors such as business fundamentals, quality of the management team and valuation. The company-specific basis focuses then on sustainable business practices and specific environmental, social or economic indicators.


Screened by


RobecoSAM's exclucion policy is published on its website:



04.2. Describe how the screening criteria are established, how often the criteria are reviewed and how you notify clients and/or beneficiaries when changes are made.

Since the firm's foundation in 1995, RobecoSAM has been focusing on identifying and interpreting sustainability information, and translating it into investment opportunities. The negative and positive screening of companies on their sustainability performance forms the leading alpha driver of RobecoSAM's sustainability product offering.

First and foremost, RobecoSAM developed the annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) in 1999 in order to identify companies that are better equipped to recognize and respond to emerging sustainability opportunities and challenges presented by global and industry trends. This proprietary assessment framework is based on criteria that have been selected and formulated by RobecoSAM analysts. The annual RobecoSAM CSA is based on approximately 600 questions. The questions cover 125 criteria across 60 different industries, and lead to roughly 1000 collected data points per company. The raw data stemming from the CSA are then engineered by dedicated team in order to remove any statistical biases in the data and to tilt the weighting of the different criteria according empirical evidence. Thus, the data are developed into a Smart ESG score. This process includes a statistical correction of unwanted biases in the original dataset as well as tilting of the weighting scheme towards criteria that have shown the strongest link to future equity performances. The testing of these advanced sustainability scores (Smart ESG scores) have shown a positive and relative stable improvement of investment returns in all major regions over the past decade.

For the sustainability core strategies, we use a kind of a "best in class" screening which is based on our annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), to identify the most sustainable companies in each of the starting universes. In our Global and European Equities strategy for example we only keep the top 66% of companies per industry in the universe. The bottom third though is removed as our empirical testing shows a significant underperformance of that group relative to rest over the long-tern.

Second, we apply special screens on environmental data (GHG emissions, water and energy consumption, waste production) in order to improve the environmental footprint of the universe. The screening is used in a way that the environmental footprint of the universe (based on the mentioned four factors) is increased by at least 33% relative to the starting universe. We continually monitor companies in our universe for their sustainability practices, and if necessary, we will downgrade their sustainability score, which in turn will have a negative effect on the overall valuation of the stock.

For thematic strategies, RobecoSAM creates investible universe based on companies that are defined as "solutions providers" who address long-term sustainability challenges. Our equity and SI Research analysts provide investment recommendations and base those decisions on screening criteria that have been established as best practice, and which are updated on a regular basis throughout the year.

Third, the fundamental research that leads into the generation of potential investment ideas and the formujlation of recommended investment cases, the screening includes a Sustainability Materiality Analysis. This Framework defines the financially most material factors in per sector and therefore gives guidance to analyse individual companies in detail. Based on this framework, companies are screened and analysed in order to identify strength and weaknesses of companies and to isolate ESG criteria that are expected to have significant impact of its valuation. Such factors can include corporate governance practices, supply change management, innovation power and other environmental, social or economic indicators. They are an integral part in our valuation models. Companies get selected if they score favourably relative to their peers in that analysis.

On negative screening, RobecoSAM defined its policy regarding exclusion screening which includes guidelines on manufacture of damaging businesses, exclusion of government bonds from controversial countries, and exclusion of companies who violate the United Nations Global Compact principles. This policy is updated once a year or more (if necessary) and made available to the public via the RobecoSAM website.

LEI 05. Processes to ensure screening is based on robust analysis

05.1. Indicate which processes your organisation uses to ensure screening is based on robust analysis.

          An external audit of the assessment process is conducted every year.

05.2. Indicate the proportion of your actively managed listed equity portfolio that is subject to comprehensive ESG research as part your ESG screening strategy.

05.3. Indicate how frequently third party ESG ratings are updated for screening purposes.

05.4. Indicate how frequently you review internal research that builds your ESG screens.

05.5. Additional information. [Optional]

The investment philosophy of RobecoSAM is fully based on the principle of ESG integration. Consequently, all investment professionals are dedicated to the application of ESG information in their decision making process.

For the Corporate Sustainability Assessment, both publicly available and company-provided information are used as inputs into the assessment. RobecoSAM's proprietary methodology was developed over the past 17 years. Sustainability data, scores and insights resulting from the RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment of over 4’000 companies are stored in RobecoSAM's proprietary database. The scores from the sustainability assessment are accessible to all members of the investment team and enables the construction of investment universes for all standardized and customized products. An external audit of the assessment process is conducted every year. Our dedicated team of quantitative analysts constantly analyses the quality and consistency of our proprietary sustainability data. Based on statistical research helps the research team to improve and enhance the methodology of the CSA process. In addition, team corrects the raw data by biases and tilts the scoring towards criteria that have shown the strongest statistical link to future performance. RobecoSAM raw sustainability scores are published on Bloomberg

For the Media and Stakeholder Analysis, the information provided by the external research provider (RepRisk) is reviewed and analysed by RobecoSAM analysts, with additional input from the companies. The methodology and the ratings are reviewed and updated on an annual basis. Individual ratings can also be reviewed on a periodic basis, based on our ongoing Media and Stakeholder Analysis.

In summary, the overall RobecoSAM ESG research is a combination of well-structured processes that are conducted on an annual basis and ongoing analysis that leads to regular updates and reviews of selected ESG data and information.   

LEI 06. Processes to ensure fund criteria are not breached

06.1. Indicate which processes your organisation uses to ensure fund criteria are not breached

          Continuous monitoring of products and mandates takes place by the Financial Risk Manager who is also responsible for verifying adherence to our investment policies.

06.2. If breaches of fund screening criteria are identified - describe the process followed to correct those breaches.

RobecoSAM uses the Charles River Development (CRD) system for portfolio management purposes. Pre-trade compliance is automatically handled through the compliance modules of CRD, which report on breaches of guidelines. Hard and soft breach coding is programmed directly into CRD, in line with the relevant investment guidelines.

For most RobecoSAM portfolios, the respective universe is coded in the system, preventing Portfolio Managers from investing in securities that do not pass the positive screening criteria. Exclusions are also programmed in the frond-end tool, ensuring compliance with Robeco's Exclusion Policy. Any potential breaches generate an automated alert to portfolio managers and the Legal and Compliance Department before the trade is executed, preventing the execution of any trades that would result in a compliance breach. Overriding of hard constraints is impossible The compliance of RobecoSAM portfolios with its investment philosophy and investment guidelines ultimately is monitored by the Product Committee.

However, should a compliance breach be identified, it will immediately be communicated to the client. This is carried out by the responsible Client Relationship manager, in cooperation with the responsible portfolio manager and RobecoSAM's Legal and Compliance department. Corrections will be made in agreement with the client.

The internal audit department periodically assesses the effectiveness of the process outlined above on an ongoing basis.

06.3. Additional information.[Optional]

(B) Implementation: Thematic

LEI 07. Types of sustainability thematic funds/mandates

07.1. Indicate the type of sustainability thematic funds or mandates your organisation manages.

07.2. Describe your organisation’s processes relating to sustainability themed funds. [Optional]

Based on global sustainability trends, RobecoSAM has identified the "Sustainability Themes" as Sustainable Water, Smart Energy, Smart Materials, Sustainable Healthy Living and Sustainable Food. These investment themes are translated into single and multi-thematic portfolios which often contain a high portion of small and midsized companies with attractive valuations. On a mandate basis the different single-theme portfolio  are combined to bespoke client solutions. The focus lies on companies that develop and market innovative products and services accompanying the emergence of new sectors that are expected to experience above-average growth. As such, sustainability theme investing offers investors attractive return potential.

The definition of the investment universe includes a careful assessment of sectors an industries that are linked to specific sustainability controversies.

(C) Implementation: Integration of ESG issues

LEI 08. Review ESG issues while researching companies/sectors

08.1. Indicate which ESG factors you systematically research as part of your investment analysis and the proportion of actively managed listed equity portfolios that is impacted by this analysis.

ESG issues

Proportion impacted by analysis




Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance

08.2. Additional information. [Optional]

As part of our fundamental investment approach, ESG information are systematically integrated in all steps of the decisions-making process. Whena potential investment opportunity is identified, the company will be researched from a financial as well as from a sustainability perspective. The sustainability analysis aims to identify the most material ESG factors for the respective industry and to conclusively map the company relative to these factors. The research will be summarized in a so-called SI Company Profile and include all dimensions of ESG. Of particular interest are all criteria where the company substantially differentiate from its peers and criteria that seem of high relevance for its long-term competitiveness. The key findings will then be structurally integrating in the valuation model. A fair value of a company is derived from assumptions on its further revenues, costs, margins and costs of capital. The estimations  of these values drivers not only are based on financial considerations but explicitly include a reflection of identified non-tangibles.

All companies are constantly screened with an MSA to identify potential issues that may lead to reputational risk. As soon as a potential “case” is identified, its impact on the investment case is estimated an potential action is taken.


LEI 09. Processes to ensure integration is based on robust analysis

09.1. Indicate which processes your organisation uses to ensure ESG integration is based on a robust analysis.

09.2. Indicate the proportion of your actively managed listed equity portfolio that is subject to comprehensive ESG research as part your integration strategy.

09.3. Indicate how frequently third party ESG ratings that inform your ESG integration strategy are updated.

09.4. Indicate how frequently you review internal research that builds your ESG integration strategy.

09.5. Describe how ESG information is held and used by your portfolio managers.

09.6. Additional information.[Optional]

RobecoSAM puts high emphasis on a clear structure and strict processes with regard to the use of ESG data. All information are stored in a comprehensive and holistic internal database. The database include all relevant information on a company throughout the investment process and are made to all relevant analysts and portfolio managers. In addition, all investment universes, data screenings and exclusion lists and are managed in that database.

Each investment case that is produced for our actively managed portfolios includes a section on Sustainability factors. The so-called investment cases is expected to summarize the investment thesis with a description of the identified financially material ESG factors and its impact on the assumptions in the valuation model. All reports and all research is stored systematically and records kept and made accessible to relevant investment staff.

As a matter of fact, data access rights are strictly managed and monitored constantly.

LEI 10. Aspects of analysis ESG information is integrated into (Private)