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How important are the UN Sustainable Goals for investing?

Wednesday 2 December, 2020

It is five years since the United Nations adopted its Agenda 2030 that set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that 193 countries agreed to follow in order to tackle a variety of challenges the world now faces. The ambitious goals were introduced to protect the planet, encourage inclusion but also prosperity.  

Sustainable investment funds set up 

Since 2015 many Socially Responsible Investment funds have been set up. Although the SDG’s were originally designed for countries and businesses to follow, many sustainable investment funds use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a basis for their investment process, as the UN SDG’s encourage many investment themes that include sustainable trends like targeting gender equality, health, education, climate action.

UN Sustainable Goals

Sustainable Development Goals12,000 companies signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals

Over 12,000 companies in over 160 countries, both developed and developing, representing nearly every sector and size have voiced their support for the SDG’s and signed up to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, a UN survey in June 2020 of more than 600 business representatives in Compact found only 39% of employees believe their employer has targets that are sufficiently ambitious to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline. Less than one-third said their sector is moving rapidly enough to deliver adequate progress against the SDGs.

Simon Hawker, Managing Director, Lonsdale Services, St Albans, Hertfordshire said:

‘The UN Sustainable Development Goals help us understand the scale of the social, economic and environmental challenges we all face.  The UN is in agreement that it is not just countries that need to change, but businesses will also play a very important role. It is encouraging that so many companies have signed up to Compact, although judging from the recent UN survey there is still more some companies can do to support the Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped that fund management houses investing in these companies can work with them to encourage them to develop more sustainable processes in future.’

Simon Hawker, member of the St Albans financial planning team continued:

Many investment houses issued statements to celebrate the recent 5th birthday of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These investment companies explain how their teams use the SDG’s within investment, and how they incorporate the principles of the goals into a company-wide investment strategy. By being socially responsible investors, fund management companies can direct capital to the most responsible companies in order to support the UN SDG’s. There are many ways investment houses can influence and impact business.  For example, as shareholders in companies they have to vote on key company issues to ensure corporate social responsibility.’

How to invest sustainably?

Many of our clients want to learn more about investing sustainably. According to the Make My Money Matter campaign, 68% of UK savers also want their investments to consider people and planet as well as profit. To learn more about investing sustainably read – What is the Make My Money Matter Campaign? If you are a Lonsdale Wealth Management client or want to invest sustainably, we offer a variety of sustainable investing options. For more information read – Does your financial adviser offer investments that ‘do good’ for society.’

In Summary…

There is evidence that companies are beginning to think more about sustainability and investment houses are using their influence to ensure this happens. Sustainable investing options are available. Contact your local Lonsdale Wealth Management independent financial adviser for more information.

How to be socially responsible investors

How to be socially responsible investors

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