Robeco AM releases Sustainability Yearbook 2019

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MEDIA RELEASE RobecoSAM, the investment specialist that has focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing (SI) for over 23 years, announced the publication of The Sustainability Yearbook 2019 which this year recognises 458 companies from 36 countries. The Yearbook showcases the sustainability performance of the world’s largest companies and includes the top 15% of companies in each industry, awarding the best performing firms with Gold, Silver or Bronze class medals. This 16th edition of the Yearbook is launched under SAM, the brand now designated for distinct activities and offerings with, and for companies in connection with the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).

The Yearbook is based on results from the CSA. With over 2.4 million data points on the most financially material ESG criteria in each industry, the Yearbook continues to be a comprehensive guide to the strongest performing, largest companies in the world. This year, the Yearbook awards 236 medals to those companies achieving the best sustainability performance compared to peers in their respective industries. 

In total, 186 Australian companies were assessed and the number of companies qualifying for inclusion in the Yearbook 2019 rose from 19 to 22. Of these, 13 companies were awarded medals, with three of them Gold medal winners: Star Entertainment Grp Ltd., Stockland, and Dexus.

Yearbook 2019 compared to Yearbook 2018


Companies Included

Total Medals Awarded

Gold Medals Awarded

Asia Pacific*

113 (-1)

50 (-15)

12 (-2)


85 (+4)

51 (+7)

13 (+2)


172 (-13)

104 (-19)

32 (-8)

North America

88 (-11)

31 (-6)

9 (+1)


458 (-21)

236 (-33)

66 (-7)


22 (+3)

13 (-4)

3 (-1)

*including Australia

One Australian company achieved the distinction of Industry Mover, awarded to the company within the top 15% of each industry that has achieved the largest proportional improvement in its sustainability performance compared to the previous year. Although research shows that Australia has not had a strong reputation for leading in corporate sustainability performance, The Sustainability Yearbook 2019 does show some indications of positivity from Australian companies, with a modest rise of three further companies securing a place compared to the previous year.  More than half of those achieving medals positions them as leading companies in their respective industries compared to their peers. 

Daniel Wild, PhD, Co-CEO, RobecoSAM: “We congratulate all 458 companies for achieving their places in The Sustainability Yearbook 2019. The CSA, the cornerstone of the Yearbook, has continued to evolve since it was established 20 years ago, securing its position as a leading methodology for assessing the financially material ESG performance of companies. As a result, the Yearbook has become a highly credible source of corporate sustainability insights. To increase transparency of the Yearbook, for the first time, we are giving public access to percentile rankings of all assessed companies, enabling comparison with industry peers.”

Marius Dorfmeister, Co-CEO, RobecoSAM: “We are delighted to be re-introducing the familiar SAM brand. Through assessment of millions of data points, over the last 20 years, we have compiled one of the world’s most comprehensive databases of financially material sustainability information. From this we have built specialist business areas with unique offerings. These include: company ESG assessment, supplying data for indices, as well as benchmarking companies’ corporate sustainability performance against peers. These activities under the SAM brand, will strengthen the value of the CSA as a tool for understanding and improving corporate sustainability performance.”

Stephen Dennis, Head of Robeco Australia: “We are fortunate to have RobecoSAM as an affiliate company with its long history of research on the sustainability of companies. This proprietary research helps to enhance the fully ESG-integrated process in our investment strategies at Robeco. The ESG research teams at Robeco and RobecoSAM, together with Robeco’s Active Ownership team, ensure that we are committed to providing our clients with long-term sustainable strategies across equities and fixed income.” 

Increased transparency of Yearbook

For the first time the percentile rankings of all assessed companies will be publicly available on The Sustainability Yearbook 2019 microsite giving access to the latest ESG company rankings. The percentile rank of each assessed company within its industry will be presented, providing an overview of ESG performance at company level and in relation to industry peers. The confidentiality of information between RobecoSAM and the assessed companies will be maintained in this move. The aim of broadening access to the percentile rankings is to further advance disclosure, transparency and decision-making with regard to corporate sustainability performance.

The Sustainability Yearbook 2019 White Papers

Each year, RobecoSAM identifies some of the most important sustainability topics to share insights and expertise through publication of white papers. The Yearbook 2019 examines the theme of social capital for enhanced corporate sustainability performance in four newly published white papers: