International asset manager Robeco announced today a new program to open up access to its sustainable investing intellectual property with the launch of its Sustainable Investing Open Access Initiative.

As a first step in the new initiative, Robeco stated that it will provide clients and a group of academics with free access to its proprietary Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) company scores. Robeco said that it intends to open up other sustainable investing data and IP available to a broader set of stakeholders at a later stage of the initiative.

In a statement announcing the new initiative, Robeco said that it is aiming to make a significant contribution towards getting the industry to work together to improve data and define standards, in order to address the biggest challenges in sustainable investing.

Robeco CIO Fixed Income and Sustainability Victor Verberk 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.”

The SDGs refer to the 17 categories of goals adopted as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, with the aim to protect the planet and improve quality of life globally.  The SDGs set targets to achieve a broad range of aspirational goals, including ending poverty and hunger, improving education, and protecting the environment.

Robeco started the development of its SDG framework in 2017, aimed at enabling it to quantify an investible company’s contribution to the SDGs. The framework is used for many of the firm’s client portfolios, including some of the world’s largest asset owners, such as UBS Global Wealth Management, BBVA AM and pensioenfonds ING.

With the new initiative, Robeco said that it is actively seeking feedback on the data, and the company expects the program to further enhance the robustness of the data and its methodology.

Carola van Lamoen, Head of Sustainable Investing at Robeco, said:

“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.”

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