At the September 2015 UN General Assembly, governments from across the world adopted the 2030 Agenda, with goals to improve lives for all. Applying to all countries and promising sustained, transformative change, the Agenda commits to leave no one behind—not women, not children, not minorities, not migrants, not indigenous people, not people with disabilities.
More than that, those who are farthest behind must be moved to the top of the global community’s agenda. Today around 1 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty, many of them women and children.
Now, on the first anniversary of the SDGs, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), has launched a new campaign which calls on the financial industry to take a larger role in impact investing with the goal of aiding the SDG.
The GIIN, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing says it wants to ensure that the financial industry does not remain on the sidelines as the world strives to meet these important goals. The campaign asks investors and money managers to commit capital to impact investments as a way of both achieving their financial goals and having a positive impact across a range of sectors, from renewable energy and sustainable agriculture to affordable housing and microfinance.
“Nine years on from when the term was coined, impact investing is no longer a nascent market, but it has become a vibrant industry, offering proven financial returns and demonstrable social and environmental progress,” said GIIN CEO Amit Bouri in a statement .
Indeed, many report found impact investment funds have very respectable returns, and sometimes, their performance have been even stronger than returns experienced by other funds.
As part of this campaign, the GIIN has also profiled a variety of impact investors to demonstrate how impact investors have begun to utilize the SDG framework to address a variety of global issues such as access to clean water, improving health and well-being, climate change mitigation, and more.
In the profiles, experienced private companies explain how aligning to the SDGs is helping them develop impact strategies and goals, communicate with stakeholders, and attract new capital. For example, Encourage Capital, an asset management firm specializing in strategic investments to solve critical social and environmental problems, found that some investors, particularly those that were still early in their engagement with impact investing, were having difficulty understanding how investments in financial institutions could help drive positive social and environmental outcomes alongside the expected commercial financial returns.
“As a result, it has been using the SDGs to ground the impact outcomes that might be more difficult to conceptualize”, says Ameya Bijoor from Encourage Capital. “Impact outcomes driven by financial inclusion such as access to capital for women, job creation, increased sustainable livelihoods in urban areas, and improved transparency in the financial sector are directly captured by the SDGs, namely SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. These clearly illustrate and contextualize the wider systemic impact of financial inclusion”.
Most organizations also believe that the SDGs help make impact investing more mainstream and help shift the whole financial sector to start thinking about the impact their investments can drive.
We are delighted to showcase select impact investors, who demonstrate both the power of impact investing to change our world and the benefits to impact investors to align their goals with the SDGs. We need more of the world’s investors to join in this world-changing initiative if we’re going to make the SDGs a reality. There’s no time to waste.
Cover photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images