Robeco Targets “Massive Opportunity” for Biodiversity Investments with New Equities Strategy
International asset manager Robeco announced that it will launch RobecoSAM Biodiversity Equities on October 31, a new equity strategy aimed at companies that can that benefit from the transition to a nature-positive world.
Target areas of investment for the new strategy will include companies that protect and promote biodiversity by supporting the more sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystem services, as well as technologies, products and services that help to reduce biodiversity threats or restore natural habitats.
Robeco noted that the WEF has placed biodiversity loss as third on its lists of global risks, behind climate change and extreme weather, with more than half of the world’s economic output of moderately or highly dependent on nature, threatening global economic and financial systems.
The asset manager also highlighted the “massive opportunity” for biodiversity-friendly investments, estimated at over $10 trillion by the WEF. The opportunities will primarily appear by transforming food, infrastructure and energy systems, which together are responsible for almost 80% of nature loss.
Aaron Re’em, co-Portfolio Manager of the strategy, said:
“This is the essence of the strategy. Protecting biodiversity is not just a means of saving nature – it’s also one of the biggest investment opportunities of our times.”
Robeco said that it will aim to identify solutions that can participate in ‘bending the curve’ to stop the decline of biodiversity loss, addressing challenges including “daily destruction of forests, plants and the natural habitats of animals due to human activity.”
From a thematic universe of approximately 250 companies, Robeco said the strategy will be arranged in four investment clusters targeting more sustainable land and sea activities. The clusters will include Sustainable Land Use, focused on forests and woodlands, cultivated lands and urban environments; Freshwater Networks, including pollution prevention, purification and treatment and habitat protection; Marine Systems, covering fisheries aquaculture and ocean conservation; and Traceable Products, such as foods, fibers and raw materials.
Robeco stated that the launch marks “the culmination of over a year of work to create a product that specifically promotes biodiversity in a targeted thematic style, rather than just investing in environmental or climate-related stocks generally.” The firm published a position paper in January, outlining its approach to biodiversity, and in August, Robeco announced that it had hired David Thomas as Senior Portfolio Manager for the new strategy.
“Nearly all human activity in a modern society creates losses; our job is to invest in companies that can profit from being competitively positioned to reduce biodiversity loss.”