Sustainable Development Goals

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Financing, technology, sustainability and data to reduce the gender gap

2020 is a crucial year for women and girls, everywhere. We celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It also marks the five-year milestone of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s 64th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was deemed

Impact: The New Narrative For Long-Term Business Growth

When all the UN Member States adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, this marked the beginning of a journey aiming to unite all actors under the same umbrella in driving an equitable future for all, enabling thriving economies and living in harmony with the environment. Ever since, sustainability has started to be more and more

With great wealth comes great responsibility

n 1971, the German business professor Klaus Schwab brought leading executives from Western Europe to a small town in the Swiss Alps. Schwab asked these corporate leaders to consider the impact of their businesses on all of their stakeholders – not just customers and investors, but the societies within their sphere of influence. This ethos

Sustainable finance starts with data

Where disclosure and data exist, there tends to be record levels of sustainable investing. Financial products related to the Sustainable Development Goals can only be developed once fundamental data is available across companies. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data should be treated as fundamental rather than alternative data. Businesses today face significant environmental and social

How to Invest for Market-Rate Return and Measurable Impact at Large Scale

Impact investing is a specific approach of “investing for the common good” alongside ethical investing, sustainable investing, socially responsible investing (SRI), and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. Although they are often grouped together in everyday conversation and media coverage, there are different methodologies associated with each of these approaches. The Global Impact Investors Network

What’s your sustainability moonshot?

There’s a story about the 1969 Apollo moon landing that I haven’t been able to confirm. It may well be apocryphal. But it’s a good story, nonetheless. The story as I heard it took place soon after President John F. Kennedy gave that historic speech in May 1961, four months into his presidency, committing the United States

Why Social Impact is a C-Suite Issue

Solving the most pressing issues of our time has a colossal price tag. Today, the global impact investing market has reached $502 billion – which is excellent – but that’s nowhere near the $5 to $7 trillion that’s needed to achieve the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals over the coming decade. Whether it’s feeding the 821 million undernourished

More than half of the world’s poor are children

As global leaders prepare to discuss progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at the U.N. High Level Policy Forum (HLPF) in early July, the holy grail of the agenda—eradicating extreme poverty—may well seem elusive and complex. On the one hand, there is much to celebrate: Since 2016, according to the World Poverty Clock, the ranks of Earth’s

How to Deploy Tech Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenges at Scale

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door,” argued Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century US lecturer, philosopher, and essayist. In other words, if scientists and engineers invent a better solution to something, scaling and deployment will happen automatically. Although Emerson was writing in the 19th century, we are

Major funds launch toolkit to help investors measure SDG impact

Cambridge University’s Investment Leaders Group has developed a framework that allows investors to measure the impact of their investments against the Sustainable Development Goals. The Investment Leaders Group (ILG), a global network of pension funds, insurers and asset managers convened by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), has created a dashboard, called the Cambridge Impact

The New Era of Refugee Investing

More than three years into the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), not one country is on track to achieve them by the 2030 deadline. This conclusion, reached in a recent Brookings Institution report, highlights the enormous human costs associated with not meeting these goals, and implores countries to do more. With heads of state slated

Three Community Feedback Tools for Impact Investors

Successful businesses continuously update their knowledge of what customers want.  Walmart collects more than 2.5 million gigabytes of customer data per hour and Yelp users post 26,380 reviews per minute. So why do many impact investors, who seek social, environmental, and economic returns on patient timelines, park customer insight at the door when they want to achieve multiple bottom lines?

How to Create the Conditions for Social Intrapreneurs to Thrive

“We are past, ‘Should we?’ The question now is, ‘How?’” At a recent event in New York, New York, Mehmood Kahn, chief scientific officer at Pepsico, framed the challenge on the mind of many company leaders who have committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In other words, the ambition is set, but how will companies deliver? The

How Can Countries Reduce Poverty Faster?

Can the world end poverty by 2030, the target set by the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development? The UN General Assembly recently reaffirmed this deadline but conceded that meeting it will require “accelerating global actions” to tackle poverty’s causes. As the international community explores new solutions, lessons from the past could be instructive. Poverty reduction has

Investors Can And Should Address The Fundamental Causes Of Income Inequality

Investors are increasingly aware of the system-level effects of their investments. In a previous post I have written about how the very large asset owners and asset managers have to consider whether their investments are making a positive or negative contribution to the financial, environmental, and social systems that support human life on Earth. Sudden shocks (e.g.,

Could this be the start of the end of world poverty?

Three years ago the world lined up behind an ambitious set of targets – the sustainable development goals – for 2030. The checklist included the eradication of extreme poverty, ending preventable child deaths and delivering quality universal education. As part of the pledge, governments committed to achieving the most rapid progress among populations left furthest behind. To

Philanthropy Bets Big on Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations made headlines around the world in September 2015 when it adopted an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to end extreme poverty, protect the planet, and ensure health and prosperity for all by 2030. Delivering on these goals won’t come cheap. The UN estimates that it will require

Impact investing is booming–but not nearly enough to make radical change

Between mid-2017 and mid-2018, the value of the impact investing market roughly doubled to $228 billion in assets under management, according to a survey from the Global Impact Investing Network, a nonprofit that works to increase the scale and effectiveness of financial bets with social and environmental returns. But that’s still a drop in the bucket

How Giving People Free WiFi Actually Can Help End Extreme Poverty

Google recently announced plans to bring free high speed Wi-Fi to 200 public spaces in Nigeria through its Google station initiative. The most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria will be the fifth country to launch Google station and the first on the continent. Increased online users equates to more people using various Google products and increased advertising

The start of a new poverty narrative

Last September, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released its annual Goalkeeper’s report, highlighting the extraordinary progress made in reducing extreme poverty around the world, while also warning that sustaining this progress would not be easy. We now have the first actual data points that ring the alarm bells about a new, unfolding story on global poverty