Asset manager Robeco is opening up its intellectual property (IP) with the launch of a new programme, the Sustainable Investing Open Access Initiative, in order to help improve the quality and analysis of sustainability data.
Opening up proprietary sustainability approaches will build credibility by allowing independent analysis.
Independent and academic analysis could open up new approaches to estimating SDG impact for investment.
Collaborative and open approaches are on their way to being a sign of sustainability credibility.
As a first step, clients and a group of academics will gain free access via a portal which will contain the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) scores of companies Robeco has generated using its proprietary SDG framework.
Data quality is one of the biggest challenges in sustainable investing
Robeco started developing its SDG Framework in 2017. With SDG data clients can measure progress over time against sustainable objectives, steer on exposure to SDGs, and report on them.
The framework allows Robeco to quantify an investible company’s contribution to the SDGs and the asset manager has said it is convinced that the industry should work together to improve data and define standards.
With the SI Open Access Initiative, Robeco aims to make a significant contribution to this. This builds on the growing recognition that effectively address sustainability and climate challenges will require not simply companies collaborating across the value chain but a new approach to shared data and analytical approaches.
Robeco is actively seeking feedback on the data, and is in an ongoing dialogue with its stakeholders, including academics, clients and SI experts. As a result, Robeco expects that this initiative will further enhance the robustness of the data and our methodology. At a later stage, Robeco will also make other SI data and IP available to a broader set of stakeholders.
Clarity is growing around the SDG investment framework
The SDG framework is used for many of Robeco’s client portfolios. These include some of the world’s biggest asset owners like UBS Global Wealth Management, BBVA AM and pensioenfonds ING, who are all said to be keen supporters of Robeco’s SI Open Access initiative.
Victor Verberk, chief investment officer for fixed income and sustainability said: “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.”