What to Read This Week: CEOs & SDGs- New Resources to Finance and Achieve the Global Goals

Conversations around the private sector and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have produced a handful of new reports and insights into funding the Global Goals.

In April 2017, the United Nations convened a high-level event focused on financing the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG Financing Lab. In May 2017, the GIIN released its Annual Impact Investor Survey, asking investors for the first time about their alignment to the Global Goals. And even more recently, the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development released a new report, “Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects, 2017.” Along with recent announcements from Exxon Mobil shareholders and Blackrock seeking increased climate accountability, it seems that the link between private industry and the future of the Global Goals is strengthening.

This week we have highlighted recent reports and upcoming events that provide tools for CEOs and entrepreneurs to track, monitor, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development’s SDG Knowledge Hub posted a write-up of panel comments and outcomes from the SDG Financing Lab held April 18, 2017, in New York City, providing insight from UN agencies, the International Chamber of Commerce, JP Morgan Chase, country leaders, and more. The discussions covered a vast array of subjects, including incentivizing investing for sustainable development, the potential for the UN to match investors with different projects at different stages of development, and the need to scale successful projects.

Around the same time, the IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub also posted a roundup of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s new online resource, CEO Guide to the SDGs, and a new publication from the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the UN Global Compact, ‘Aligning Values: Why Corporate pension plans should mirror their sponsors’.

The CEO Guide to the SDGs lays out steps for CEOs to reach the SDGs, dividing action points into four main pillars:

  • Risk of Inaction: Doing nothing is a costly option.
  • Capturing Opportunities: The prize of aligning business strategies with the SDGs.
  • Governance & Transparency: Better information = better decisions.
  • The Need for Collaboration: Realizing the SDGs is beyond the reach of one company.

The new report from PRI and the UN Global Compact focuses on CEO’s responsibility to align pension plans with sustainability values. The report includes case study example from major corporate pension plans, and provides five steps for CEO’s to follow to ensure their plan invests responsibly, including:

  1. start conversations within governing bodies and with corporate sponsors about responsible investment and its relevance to the objectives of the plan and the corporation;
  2. seek feedback from beneficiaries on their attitude to responsible investment;
  3. begin conversations with service providers, both investment consultants and investment managers, on their approaches to ESG integration and responsible investment within their service offerings;
  4. access resources and training to raise the level of awareness of ESG integration and responsible investment on the plan governing body;
  5. sign up to the PRI

The Global Opportunity Explorer, a platform exploring “innovative solutions and market opportunities which address the SDGs”, was launched at a recent UN Global Compact event in New Delhi, India, ‘Making Global Goals Local Business’. A joint project of Sustainia, DNV GL, and the UN Global Compact, the Global Opportunity Explorer offers inspiration and innovation across 10 sectors.

In July, the High Level Political Forum will convene at the United Nations in New York, focusing on follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. During the week-long event, covering reviews of implementation and National Voluntary Reviews, the second annual SDG Business Forum will take place on July 18th. This side-event to the HLPF brings together UN agencies, international organizations, and civil society groups alongside business and government leaders to discuss business engagement in the SDGs. Special sessions at this year’s event include:

  • Private Sector Investing in the SDGs
  • Reporting Business Progress on the SDGs
  • Experience Engaging with Governments, and
  • presentations on Goals in Focus.

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