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Netherlands-headquartered Robeco has launched an equities investment strategy that concentrates on areas such as workers’ rights and sustainability in the world’s fashion industry.
The new offering is called the Fashion Engagement Equities Strategy. It aims to generate attractive long-term investment returns, while engaging with all the companies in the portfolio.
Robeco wants to tap into a $2.5 trillion sector – in terms of annual sales – which employs more than 300 million people worldwide across its supply chain.
While the sector is growing, it has challenges, such as low pay for garment workers – which Robeco said is on average 45 per cent below local living wages. Also, every year about 100 billion articles of clothing are produced of which less than 1 per cent are recycled into new clothing. Robeco also cited data showing that the sector produces up to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The new strategy will invest in, and engage with, 30 to 40 publicly listed companies across the entire fashion value chain, from sourcing, to production, consumption and end-of-life.