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Connecting impact investing to the Sustainable Development Goals

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On 25 September 2015, The United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals were created as a global call to action for positive change. Near the anniversary of the establishment of the SDGs, we look at how impact investing connects to the SDGs and the urgency behind it.

We can no longer think and act in silos

As a follow on to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) , the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established on 25 September 2015. These new set of goals consist of 17 aspirational goals with 169 targets for the next 15 years. These SDGs and targets focus on ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all. The new goals recognise that all social and environmental objectives are interconnected and affect everyone in the international community.

“It’s about what the whole world must do to ensure we have a livable planet and decrease inequality. All the goals are interlinked. For instance, climate change is related to our food system, economic growth, access to clean energy, and our soils among many other issues. What is clear is that we can no longer think and act in silos. Our society and planet simply don’t have enough time,” says Marilou van Golstein Brouwers Chair of the Management Board of Triodos Investment Management.

How is impact investing connected to the SDGs?

When looking at the SDGs, there are such categories as reducing poverty, increasing gender equality, providing access to clean and affordable energy, and creating more sustainable cities and communities. Every goal has targets that require some sort of financial investment. The UN estimates that developing countries alone face a USD 2.5 trillion gap in financing.

Enterprises to improve social and environmental welfare are being started and built but need (more) funding to develop. Impact investment plays a pivotal contributing role as it has unlocked private capital to address societal issues. For impact investing to succeed, it requires looking at investing through a lens and asks the investor to question “what is my money doing for a cleaner planet or for equal opportunities for all?” and taking action from there.

Impact investors aligning with SDGs to driving results

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) released a report featuring how impact investors are collectively driving results and how these results align to the SDGs.  Triodos Investment Management believes that impact investors that align with the SDGs will attract capital, thereby contributing to solving the problems that their investments set out to address.

Marilou van Golstein Brouwers: “We see impact investing as the ‘front runner’ in catalysing change in the world. Impact investing can scale significantly if it comes together with investors around the SDGs.”

The urgency to change the way of thinking

The SDGs have the power to influence the financial sector to look through a different lens and examine the true value of investing and stimulating investors to think differently.

Marilou van Golstein Brouwers: “The urgency to change how the financial industry looks at investing, and how investors are currently using their money is apparent. We can see it in climate change, mass migration, and the deepening social inequality in the world. This is an urgency that directly affects every country and everyone - at our homes, in our families, and in our communities.”

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