The SDGs have become an increasingly important framework for the financial sector to both target and measure the impact of their portfolios. The challenge is that investors often lack clear insight into the priority areas, on the ground in emerging markets, where impact finance is most desperately needed.
In an effort to bring country level market intelligence to investors, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance, have launched the SDG Investor Platform.
It builds on the SDG Investor Maps, developed by the UNDP’s SDG Impact team, and leverages the insights and relationships of the UNDP’s country offices to produce a searchable database of potential investments. It’s not a substitute for due diligence, and they don’t recommend deals. They’re simply translating their on-ground insights into the language that investors will find useful. With the aim of guiding impact capital to where it’s needed most.
“The SDG Investor Maps increase transparency and match the demand for capital with supply by identifying the investable opportunity areas and business models at the intersection between in-country SDG need, and policy, where private capital can help accelerate development and achieve appropriate risk-based returns.” Explains Fabienne Michaux, Director of SDG Impact.
To date, the SDG Investor Maps tool has identified over 200 investment opportunities in 14 countries covering a wide range of sectors, from food and beverage to healthcare and infrastructure.
There is a huge shortfall of private capital if the world is to achieve the SDGs by 2030. There are estimates that developing countries will need between $2 trillion to $4 trillion in additional funding per year, to reach the goal. The eye-watering size of these figures highlight the imperative for private capital to be better allocated to areas where it’s needed most.
“Across the globe, investors and businesses are increasingly recognising that sustainable development is at the core of long-term value creation and are seeking new opportunities to make a positive impact, mitigate longer-term and systemic risks and make meaningful contributions to achieving the SDGs. However, translating that intent to action, moving from SDG alignment of existing activities to redirecting capital towards SDG solutions, and avoiding SDG-washing have been challenging.” Michaux says. “UNDP’s new SDG Investor Platform aims to provide investors with the critical data, insights and tools they need to drive more capital towards achieving the SDGs.”
It’s a matching problem, not a capital problem, and this platform further leverages the UNDP’s trove of data and insights towards private investors who struggle to assess where impact capital is needed most.
Rosemary Addis has been an Australian ambassador for the impact sector on a range of initiatives, she says, “This is a terrific initiative from UNDP’s SDG Impact team in collaboration with global institutional investors, putting concrete dimensions to priority problems where investment can and should be part of the solution. The platform demonstrates the power of unlocking data to inform innovation and collaboration in areas where policy imperatives, investable propositions and real world needs of people and planet intersect.”