'This is not just about investing in the right companies, but about systemic risk as well'

Thursday 16 April 2020

CFA UK Insights

Author: Joanne Frearson

“Sustainability is all about long-term investing and about long-term trends, the crisis that is hitting us now is not something that we saw coming,” says Masja Zandbergen-Albers, CEFA, Head of Sustainability Integration at Robeco.

Although the World Economic Forum (WEF) had contagious diseases as part of their report on long-term risks to the economy, it was only considered low. The issues the WEF thought were the most important were climate change and social stability.



Zandbergen-Albers sees both as having the potential to destabilise economies. 

“When you look at climate change for example this is not about investment in the right companies, but about systemic risk as well,” she says.

“You can have a portfolio, you can have a lot of risk analysis, you can invest in the right companies which helps you, but if we don’t solve the issue of climate change it is going to effect everyone’s portfolio, it is going to effect all economies.”

Social is another area that Zandbergen-Albers is seeing a lot more interest in as well as how a company managers their employee relationships. 

“We actually see a trend they are interested in more human capital management for example, health and safety issues, labour practices, product quality and safety and supply chain management for example,” she says. “We are seeing the shift now in terms of topics of interest.”

Despite the turmoil the pandemic has created, she thinks it is too early to tell if there will be a greater move towards ESG integration. 

“First it is all hands on deck to contain it to make sure our economies survive,” she says. “They have come to a complete standstill.” 

This article was recorded on Tuesday 14th April over Zoom. 


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