The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the United Nations (UN) shared blueprint to fundamentally transform the planet. The UN SDGs comprise of 17 goals. Underneath the goals, there is an interconnected set of 169 targets and 230 indicators. Essentially, the UN SDGs are a shared measurement system which incorporates three dimensions:
- Environmental: such as action on climate change and protecting terrestrial and marine environments;
- Social: such as ending poverty, improving health, and achieving gender equality; and
- Economic: such as full employment and resilient infrastructures.
Some of the goals include:
No poverty: Building a more sustainable future for the world has to include a reduction in poverty. This goal seeks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere around the world.
Clean Water and Sanitation: Sustainably ensuring that all have access to clean, safe, water is key to building a sustainable future for our world. This goal seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Sustainable Cities and Communities: With the aim to make human settlements safe, inclusive and sustainable, this goal strives for a future in which cities provide opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.
Responsible Consumption and Production: Over extraction of resources, degradation of natural resources, waste, and improving sustainability factors need to be considered and improved in order to achieve the responsible consumption and production goal.
Climate Action: This goal puts the spotlight on the increasing greenhouse emissions, climate change, and the associated impact.
Life Below Water: This goal is focused on conserving and sustainably utilising our oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
Life on Land: This goal aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
The achievement of the UN SDGs is intrinsically linked to the engagement of the private sector. The significant momentum for ESG investing demonstrates how investors have overwhelmingly endorsed responsible investing. Within the investment management industry, shareholders have an opportunity to hold organisations to account and encourage them towards more sustainable business practices. Furthermore, many wealth management firms have integrated the SDGs into the creation of ESG funds and model portfolios.