Global Firms Managing Assets Worth US$16 Trillion Agree To Scale-Up Sustainable Investment

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After a meeting with United Nations secretary-general António Guterres, an alliance of the world’s biggest firms have agreed to deliver strategies to scale-up sustainable investments. With countries around the world still reeling from the devastating economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Guterres described action from the private sector “more important than ever” and urges businesses to put sustainability at the heart of their recovery plans in order to prevent the current alarming trend of reversing the progress we have made so far on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The group of companies, the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) who together control assets worth US$16 trillion, recently attended a meeting with the U.N. chief and have agreed to take action on a range of issues to align their business with the SDGs and to accelerate global sustainable investment. 

Key members of the GISD include the Bank of America, Standard Chartered, UBS Group, Citigroup, Allianz SE and the Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development. 

A fundamental change of financing and investment is needed to place sustainability at the core of the global economic and financial system. Private sector leadership will be more important than ever.

Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary-General

Among some of the main targets committed is the creation of platforms to catalyse funding to developing countries in support of the Global Goals and to provide information to investors on sustainability criteria performance. They also agreed to measures to incentivise financial firms to take a long-term investment approach, as well as coordinating with major policymaking groups and bodies to ensure that sustainable recommendations are implemented and prioritised, such as within major economic blocs like the G20. 

“The timely achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is at serious risk. To reverse our course, a fundamental change of financing and investment is needed to place sustainability at the core of the global economic and financial system,” said Guterres. “Private sector leadership will be more important than ever.”

It is now more important that we move toward the phase of implementation, starting with the key deliverables we have outlined today.

Leila Fourie, Chair of the GISD

Speaking about the agreement to put sustainable investments first, the co-chair of the alliance and current CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Leila Fourie, said: “The GISD Alliance has taken important initial steps to achieve its mission. It is now more important that we move toward the phase of implementation, starting with the key deliverables we have outlined today.”

Last month, in the face of a pandemic that is upending the way our world operates, the U.N. released a new film focused on the SDGs called Nations United to focus on solutions to create global change. Many of the SDGs are currently in jeopardy, with a recent report warning that the Global Goals are not likely to be achieved until 2092 – missing the original deadline by over 60 years. 

As a partner of the United Nations SDG Media Compact, Green Queen will be broadcasting the new film and host a virtual discussion this week to help spread the message of the immediate action needed to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic, for the people and the planet. 

This article is part of Green Queen Media’s partnership with the SDG Media Compact, aimed at raising awareness and sharing information about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 


Lead image courtesy of Federico Rostagno / Getty Images / iStock.

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