ROBECO - Fri, 10/27/2023 - 14:42

Engaging for a Just Transition leads Q3 Active Ownership report

The issue of mitigating the social cost of transitioning from fossil fuels leads the Robeco Active Ownership team’s report of its activities in the third quarter.

  • Engaging with emerging market companies to ensure a Just Transition
  • Sovereign engagement in Brazil to stop deforestation in the Amazon
  • Reports on improving governance in Asia and proxy voting in Japan

Few disagree with the need to reduce global use of coal, oil and gas and replace them with renewable energy sources in order to combat global warming. What to do with the millions of jobs that will be displaced by it is rather more difficult. It has led to the concept of the Just Transition, a phrase coined by the EU to ensure that the social implications are included in transitional planning.1

In the opening story for the Q3 report, Ghislaine Nadaud outlines how Robeco’s new engagement theme helps companies lead a socially Just Transition, focusing on emerging markets. Given the strong dependence of emerging markets on high-emitting sectors like coal mining and agriculture, she explains how companies should account for impacts that these transitions will have on their key stakeholders – workers, communities and customers.

Outside climate change, emerging markets also have long-standing problems with corporate governance. Clear accountability structures, transparent communication and strong governance policies are key requirements of long-term sustainable growth, especially where markets are still developing. Ronnie Lim showcases how our engagement with companies and policymakers in Hong Kong, South Korea and other emerging markets continues to shape stronger corporate governance practices.

A fresh wind in the Amazon

One certain way to combat global warming is to stop deforestation. This has led to a collaborative engagement with the government of Brazil to try to protect the Amazon. Claire Ahlborn reports on the outcome of talks with the Ministry of the Environment, Planning and Indigenous People, environmental enforcement and conservation agencies, local meatpackers as well as banks to explore how the financial sector can help drive transparency and green incentives.

Finally, Antonis Mantsokis and Manuel Sobral report on how the 2023 proxy voting season has been pivotal for shareholders across Japan, who have started to use their shareholder rights to push for more responsible business practices. At the global level, they outline how financial institutions generally have seen a significantly higher number of shareholder proposals requesting additional action and disclosures on their climate impacts than in previous years.

Pulling on the same rope

“Combatting climate change and safeguarding our planet’s wealth requires actors across the globe to pull on the same rope, from investors and corporates to civil society and governments,” says Carola van Lamoen, Head of Sustainable Investing at Robeco. “This quarter’s report focuses on the breadth of engagements undertaken to move companies and broader society in the right direction.”

“In all, the three engagement themes presented bring together the importance of a harmonious corporate, policy and sovereign engagement approach. Seeing a growing momentum throughout our dialogues, we look forward to continuing our engagements and to exploring how our own and our clients’ voices can continue to shape a greener future.”


Read the Full Q3 Active Ownership Report Here


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