Global governance

ICC, UNDP sign partnership to align investment flows with SDGs

  • 20 February 2020

ICC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to promote business engagement in UNDP’s flagship SDG Impact initiative.

The new partnership aims to leverage ICC’s global network to drive a transformation in how economic growth is generated by ensuring that the private sector has the necessary tools to embed sustainability in corporate decision-making. Experts and industry leaders now widely recognise that a step-change is needed in the level of private sector investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—with only a fraction of global assets currently invested in SDG-aligned activities and only a tiny portion of all private investments going to most developing countries.

“This agreement marks another milestone in uniting governments, businesses, and civil society in achieving the systemic, global change we need to achieve the SDGs,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said.

“Together, we are innovating and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in ways that help people everywhere pull themselves out of poverty and live with dignity and opportunity, while preserving the planet we all share.”

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:

“We see SDG Impact as a vital initiative to unlock the estimated US$12 trillion in new market opportunities created by the SDGs. We are delighted to put the full force of the ICC network behind the development and roll-out of standards to ensure that the private sector can take informed decisions on which investments can be SDG-enabling.

“Simply put, we need a step-change in how private finance is deployed if we are to achieve our common goals for people and our planet. Ensuring integrity in SDG-linked investing is a much-needed foundation to enable this transformation.”

Mr Steiner and Mr Denton signed the agreement Wednesday at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, alongside a meeting of the SDG Impact Steering Group.

Despite growing recognition that the SDGs are a key driver of long-term financial performance and business success, one key barrier to mainstreaming SDG-enabling investments is the lack of a widely accepted definition and standards for what qualifies as SDG-linked investments.

Launched in September 2018, SDG Impact aims to bridge this market gap by providing investors, businesses, and others with unified standards, tools, and services required to authenticate their contributions to achieving the SDGs and to identify SDG investment opportunities in emerging economies and developing countries.

Under terms of the new partnership between ICC will provide support in engaging businesses and investors in developing and adopting new SDG Impact assurance standards and certification. The two organisations will also partner on the roll-out of country-specific reports mapping SDG investment opportunities. They will also work with investors and local businesses to facilitate key investments.