Countdown to 2030: The role of the investment industry in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The United Nations (UN) launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 as a plan for the world to achieve a more sustainable, equitable society by 2030. The UN estimated that to meet these ambitious objectives, it will require investments of about $3.5tr a year, both from public and private capital. It’s been five years since this announcement, and estimates show an annual funding gap of about $2.5tr, in large part due to disappointing participation of private sector investors.

We want to understand why. Why are institutional investors not participating, in a meaningful way, in the achievement of the SDGs? And if they are participating, why are flows falling behind the levels needed?

Free Money is supporting Columbia’s Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and Beyond Alpha's nine-month research project designed to provide insights into the role of the investment community (asset managers, asset owners, and intermediaries) in the achievement of the SDGs. They want to understand the obstacles that these investors may be facing to integrate SDGs in their investment mandate, and, more importantly, what would it take for these organizations to take on the challenge implied by the SDGs? Finally, they will propose a set of recommendations to effectively integrate related considerations in the investment decision-making process.

But at the outset, the research question is: What would it take for institutional investors to increase their level of commitment and participation to mobilize capital towards the SDGs?
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