Ethical investors are increasingly embracing the vision of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of shared prosperity in a sustainable world—a world where all people can live productive, vibrant and peaceful lives on a healthy planet. This UN say this will require ‘Transforming our world’ and set out an Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes:
People - To end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.
Planet - To protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations. And
Prosperity - To ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.
The agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals against which progress is measured each year. The SDGs coincided with another historic agreement also reached in 2015 at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference. Together with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, signed in Japan in March 2015, these agreements provide a set of common standards and achievable targets to reduce carbon emissions, manage the risks of climate change and natural disasters, and to build back better after a crisis. Five years on from when the blueprint was created the UN are saying it is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve the 2030 goals
Many ethical and responsible investment funds are responding to this challenge and now specifically targeting and reporting their progress towards achieving SDGs. Some funds go as far as providing calculators showing the impact based on the amount invested. An award winning fund that focuses on seven SDG’s reports that in aggregate in 2019 the fund was measured as being associated with a positive impact equivalent to: 320,000 tons CO2 emissions avoided, 300,000 MWh renewable energy generated, 59,000 tons of waste recovered or recycled, 4 billion litres of waste water treated, 7.5 billion litres of water cleaned for reuse, 61,000 people reached with healthcare, 26,600 people with healthier lives through preventative care, £29 million of healthcare costs saved and 71,000 days of education provided.
This manager notes, “all products and services have an impact. For some, it is a negative impact – harming or undermining the social and environmental systems on which life depends. For others, the impact is positive, helping to support or even restore these systems… we believe understanding and assessing ‘impact’ is becoming a third dimension of investment expertise alongside established disciplines in assessing investment risk and return.” This view reflects the approach advocated by the UN Principles for Responsible Investing for a move from 2D (solely focused on the two dimension of risk and return) to 3D (adding a focus on impact and actively supporting companies bringing about positive change).
The UN highlights that finance is a key area in driving progress towards achieving the SDGs. It is clear that traditional investment and “business as usual” need to transform in order to make the positive impact required. The bottom line is that without the money the SDGs won’t be achieved. What you do with your money really does matter.
To learn more Click here to view Rodger being interviewed about “Envisioning the New Normal”.
We also recommend that you view the below video of Hazel Henderson being interviewed about “The Future of Finance: From GDP To SDGs”. Hazel is founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC, (of which Rodger is an Advisory Board member) and a world-renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, who has supported the emergence of ethical investing for over 40 years. Rodger met Hazel in the 1980s and arranged for her to speak at the inaugural conference of NZ Business for Social Responsibility in 2000 when he was Executive Director. The interview is part of FINTECH.TV’s TheIMPACT that focuses on impact Investing and advancing the SDGs. The show profiles people and companies committed to changing lives and creating a sustainable world.