As an active supporter of the UN Global Compact, Greenstone promotes engagement with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through Greenstone’s sustainability software solution, users can streamline data collection and gather, manage and report data to help them understand their contributions to all 17 of the UNSDGs.
What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that included 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building on the principle of “leaving no one behind”, the new Agenda emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.
The SDGs are made up of 17 goals that recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve oceans and forests. They are an urgent call for action by all countries, developed and developing to create a global partnership to achieve these goals.
What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
How are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) influencing responsible investment?
- The SDGs provide a good guide and framework to evaluate risk and opportunity within an optimal portfolio. This is due to their presence across a wide variety of asset classes, markets and locations. They are wholly inclusive in terms of their ESG aims due to the inherent nature of their underlying principles.
- The SDGs provide risk mitigation on both a macro and microeconomic level. Large institutional investors with heavily diversified portfolios have returns that rely on a healthy global economy. They can improve their long-term financial goals by adhering to the SDGs. There is also a case that the SDGs will actually drive global economic growth as they create a viable and positive future, and therefore successful returns will rely heavily on them.
- On a micro-scale, a significant proportion of external costs, such as environmental damage or social upheaval, may be forced into companies’ accounts. The uncertainty surrounding this means the landscape is a difficult and risky one. This is pushing investors more towards ESG data and responsible investment to safeguard their future returns.
- The SDGs can also provide a common language and framework for new investment opportunities in asset classes such as cleantech, green bonds and low-carbon infrastructure, which are projected to become increasingly important in the future.
- Governments are also predicted to begin altering their policies and regulations surrounding investments. To reduce this political risk within a portfolio, investors can align them with the SDGs. When the SDGs are considered within a portfolio, it makes them far more robust.
SDGs in the Frameworks Module
Greenstone’s clients use the Frameworks module to collect and report on data from across their organisation. Built into the module are a number of reporting frameworks, including the GRI Standards, to which the UN SDGs are now mapped.
With the GRI providing a linkage document that maps the 17 SDGs with the relevant GRI Standards framework indicators, Greenstone clients can select which SDGs they would like to report on within the software and the associated Standards indicators will be mapped to facilitate streamlined reporting. As the Frameworks module also provides links between GRI Standards and other frameworks such as TCFD, ISO 26000, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and UN Global Compact, clients can efficiently and effectively report against multiple frameworks in the same process.
Greenstone and SDG mapping
Greenstone has been a participant in the UN Global Compact since 2013 and welcomes the opportunity to be working more closely with the UN to support the SDGs.
Greenstone’s award-winning sustainability framework mapping functionality enables organisations to consolidate reporting, minimise risk and increase efficiency when reporting against multiple frameworks. This functionality, in Greenstone’s Frameworks module, enables organisations to report environmental and sustainability information using a variety of international and national frameworks, including GRI, TCFD, ISO, SDGs, CDP, SASB and DJSI.