Responsible investment at RBC Brewin Dolphin

We believe that high-quality companies which manage ESG risks and opportunities well will make attractive long-term investments.

The roots of modern responsible investment can be traced to the 1960s and it has grown at an exceptional rate to where we are today, where it is estimated that almost half of all invested money in Europe is done with a responsible objective, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

ESG investment is one of the headline terms everyone in the investment industry and beyond is seeing every day. ESG stands for ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ and is a way of describing the factors that are used alongside traditional financial considerations when making investment decisions. 

Our definitions

Responsible investment 

We define responsible investment as a strategy and practice to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions and active ownership.


Stewardship is the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society. This involves engaging with investee companies, through voting activities or direct communication with management, on material issues that have the potential to impact the long-term value of our clients’ assets. Examples are the re-election of board members, remuneration and shareholder resolutions on issues such as the transparent reporting of carbon emissions data.

Sustainable investment

Investment approaches that select and include investments based on the fulfillment of certain sustainability criteria and/or delivering on specific and measurable sustainability outcome(s).

ESG integration

This is the inclusion of risks and opportunities relating to non-traditional (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations into financial models and investment decision making processes.

We assess risks and opportunities related to each factor, which may include, but are not limited to:

Environment: Greenhouse gas emissions, water and resource use, land use, deforestation, biodiversity, waste.

Social: Human rights, community relations, labour relations, child labour, modern slavery, workplace safety, diversity and social supply chain issues.

Governance: Board and management quality, financial reporting, bribery and corruption, datasecurity, remuneration, stakeholder governance.

Ethical exclusions

Removing certain companies, sectors, or countries from the investment universe if they are significantly involved in controversial activities, such as the manufacture of tobacco or armaments.

Our approach to responsible investment

Our core ethos

Sustainability is relevant to everything we do, from being a responsible business and corporate citizen, to the way we invest on behalf of our clients. Our board and executive management are responsible for setting and reviewing our sustainability strategy and for overseeing our corporate responsibility activities and programmes.

Meeting all clients’ needs

We offer a bespoke, discretionary service to the majority of our clients through investment managers, financial planners, or a combination of the two. We have seen a growing number of our clients looking to achieve more than a financial return on their investments. They want to see that their portfolio can avoid harmful activities and invest in companies that make a positive difference to the environment and society at large.

Investment selection and due diligence

Our award-winning research team considers ESG factors when evaluating individual companies and when they assess fund managers. Through the use of Sustainalytics, a third-party provider of ESG data, material risks and opportunities are fed into traditional financial analysis and models for our ‘buy list’ stocks. Our research team address ESG issues in due diligence questionnaires for all funds considered for our buy list. The team also has a dedicated socially responsible investing (SRI) list for funds with a sustainability focus, and with restrictions on investment in harmful activities. The SRI list helps our investment managers select funds which aim to deliver attractive investment returns while contributing positively to global environmental and social challenges.

Key policies

Responsible investment statement

Our approach to responsible investment is outlined in our Responsible Investment Statement.


Stewardship policy

We actively engage with the companies we invest in to drive change for our clients and society.

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Get in touch

For more information on how you can invest responsibly, please get in touch with your local office.