A steady increase in sustainable investing (SI) assets under management (AUM) has been observed over the past two decades, according to Rachel Whittaker, head of SI research at Robeco, who told InvestorDaily that a notable acceleration has occurred in recent years. She identified three key drivers behind this trend: a heightened societal awareness and a generational mindset shift, evidenced by social movements like Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter; a supportive regulatory environment, including government commitments to financing a sustainable transition to a low carbon economy; and the availability of a diverse range of products embedding sustainability into various investment philosophies. Addressing the timely issue of aligning values with investment choices during the holiday season, Ms Whittaker emphasised the importance of understanding investment philosophies beyond just product names.
She highlighted ongoing efforts to standardise definitions of “sustainable” but emphasised the necessity for investors to delve into the specifics of a strategy. “It’s therefore important to look beyond the names of products and understand exactly what the investment philosophy is, what the manager aims to invest in or commits to not investing in, to have confidence that the strategy actually meets an investor’s needs,” Ms Whittaker said. When asked about exemplary companies prioritising environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, Ms Whittaker refrained from mentioning specific names for compliance reasons.
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