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Professional Investor - Netherlands
14 March 2024

Assets in the Open: The Social Engagement Framework for Infrastructure

At Van Lanschot Kempen, We believe strongly that ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) forms an integral part of the evolving toolkit for selecting resilient and risk-adjusted investments over the long term. In the investment landscape, it is crucial not to sideline the 'S' or the Social component when discussing and analysing ESG. This component bears significant long-term financial materiality that is often overlooked. In this paper, we explain why the social component is financially material, and share our framework for assessing how this risk is addressed in Infrastructure.

Infrastructure assets serve the communities they connect (as power, transport, or communication needs are met). But throughout our multiyear experience, we have noticed the recurrence of damages and misusage of infrastructure assets caused primarily as a consequence of disadvantaged economic and social conditions of the communities surrounding the infrastructure. 

Examples from the last decade, where this has been material for the infrastructure companies, include pipelines being delayed for lack of community engagement, theft of cargoes or electricity being tapped, as well as poor working conditions at subcontractors or competitors level. And this gave us an idea: we as investors see similar problems across different sectors and geographies, and we can help the companies to come up with solutions to avoid disruptions to assets in the open by fostering development of the local communities.

Operators of infrastructure assets are in a unique position to engage directly with the specific communities: the companies both service these communities and at the same time need support from them to operate safely and efficiently We believe that local acceptance of infrastructure assets secures the companies’ ability to operate without interruption. To contribute to this and to address social issues, companies can improve community engagement and foster local development. In practice, they can initiate social programs, create jobs or provide training to local residents, thereby improving the community's socioeconomic situation.

Download the white paper to read more.
 
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The author

Todor Ristov Van Lanschot Kempen

Todor Ristov

Portfolio Manager

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Disclaimer

Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management NV (VLK Investment Management) is licensed as a manager of various UCITS and AIFs and authorised to provide investment services and as such is subject to supervision by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets. This document is for information purposes only and provides insufficient information for an investment decision. This document does not contain investment advice, no investment recommendation, no research, or an invitation to buy or sell any financial instruments, and should not be interpreted as such. The opinions expressed in this document are our opinions and views as of such date only. These may be subject to change at any given time, without prior notice.

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