Robeco extends fossil fuel exclusion policy to cover €144bn of assets

The rule, which will take effect at the end of 2020, expands on the firm’s previous thermal coal exclusion policy

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Dutch asset management firm Robeco is extending its exclusion policy for fossil fuel producers and users to its entire range of investment strategies.

The move is intended to help slash emissions and tackle climate change – it will see businesses that derive a quarter or more of their revenues from thermal coal or oil sands, or 10% from Arctic drilling, barred from ‘Sustainability Inside’ investment portfolios, which constitute the majority of strategies at Robeco.

The rule, which will take effect at the end of 2020, expands on the firm’s previous thermal coal exclusion policy, which applied to its more bespoke ‘Sustainability Focused and Impact Investing’ strategies.

Its introduction means a total of 236 fossil fuel companies in the energy, mining and utilities sectors will join the exclusions list, with stricter thresholds also to be applied to ‘Sustainability Focused and Impact Investing’ portfolios, excluding companies with just 10% of their activities in thermal coal and oil sands, or 5% in Arctic drilling.

After its expansion, the exclusions policy will cover strategies accounting for €144 billion (£130bn) of assets under management.

Carola van Lamoen, Head of Robeco’s ‘Sustainability Inside’ Center of Expertise, said: “Although the preferred approach is to engage with companies, we believe it is very difficult to drive significant change at companies whose portfolios are skewed to coal or oil sands.

“Therefore, we prefer to put our efforts into sectors and companies, where we have more confidence that our engagements will be effective.”