In February 2018, Boston Partners signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and established the Sustainability and Engagement Team (the “Team”). The Team is led by Bill Butterly, Head of Sustainability and Engagement, and includes ESG analysts Haley Shaw and Marissa Marandola.
For investors seeking to maximize potential returns while incorporating comprehensive sustainability standards at the same time, Boston Partners offers the Dynamic Sustainability Strategy. All securities held by Boston Partners’ Dynamic Sustainability Strategy must pass stringent ESG standards while also meeting the same rigorous fundamental financial analysis required for all Boston Partners’ holdings. That is why these securities are also held in one or more of Boston Partners’ other investment strategies.
In addition to using third party research to help define and filter the universe of available investments for the Dynamic Sustainability Strategy, Boston Partners’ Sustainability Team engages in its own in-depth proprietary research.
Our analysis focuses on ESG risk in the following areas:
- Corporate Governance: Is there an independent chairman; a classified board; a majority of independent directors; sufficient shareholder rights; dual class stock; and an appropriate code of conduct?
- Disclosure: Does the issuer produce a sustainability report and participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) — and is the reporting thorough?
- Employees: Is the workforce and management gender diverse; what are the safety processes and safety statistics; is executive compensation performance-based, and is it excessive compared to peers; are collective bargaining rights recognized; are there any concerns regarding forced or child labor?
- Environmental: What are the environmental risks and how are they managed; what steps has the issuer undertaken to reduce its carbon footprint; are statistics verified by a third party?
- Supply Chain Oversight: How broad is the supply chain and where are suppliers located; does the issuer require suppliers to abide by good policies and what is the oversight process?
- Litigation and Regulatory Action: What litigation and regulatory actions has the issuer faced in the past 5 years, and what do those actions say about the issuer, its processes and compliance oversight?
Importantly, the Team engages with issuers on deficiencies found through its proprietary research as we believe that proactive dialogue often serves as a strong complement to utilizing external ESG ratings on issuers. Additionally, we will engage with issuers following each proxy vote against management. We are able to manage client-specific restrictions in a customized mandate. Boston Partners currently manages over $10 billion in assets with social screened guidelines (as of 06/30/2020).