International asset manager Robeco announced a new sustainable engagement partnership with the Swiss Association for Responsible Investments (SVVK-ASIR).

Founded in 2015, SVVK-ASIR is a responsible investment-focused alliance of major Swiss pension and social security funds. The coalition has grown to include 11 institutional investors representing total assets under management of more than CHF300 billion (USD$342 billion). The group monitors its members’ investment portfolio companies for breaches of international standards, with a focus on areas including human rights, business ethics, and environment, and seeks to achieve positive impact primarily through engagement dialogue.

Tamara Hardegger, Managing Director at SVVK-ASIR, said:

“Our member funds believe in positive change through dialogue. Partnering with Robeco allows us to deepen and broaden our commitment to positive change in the key areas of biodiversity and nature loss, climate change and systemic human rights issues. We are delighted to be working with such an experienced team to do this in the most effective way.”

The new agreement will nearly double Robeco’s assets under engagement, which currently stand at roughly €350 billion. According to Robeco’s 2022 Stewardship report, the firm engaged 215 companies in 2022 across 22 engagement themes, and it votes at around 5,000 shareholder annual general meetings every year. Earlier this year, Robeco introduced ocean sustainability and phasing out hazardous chemicals as two new focus themes that it will be discussing with companies in its 2024 engagements, and said that it will also target high carbon companies to align with climate goals, and engage with fashion companies to address key sustainability issues in the sector.

Peter van der Werf, Head of Engagement at Robeco, said:

“We are looking forward to working together closely with the team at SVVK-ASIR. Robeco has been recognized as a leader in the field of Engagement since 2005, and we represent large institutional investors in engagement with their portfolio holdings to strengthen their performance in managing sustainability risks and capturing opportunities in the transition.”