The United Nations Global Compact has launched the first network for Chief Financial Officers focused on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals through corporate strategy and investments.
Announced on Thursday at the UN Global Compact CEO Roundtable on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, the network of Chief Financial Officers will build on the growing momentum of private actors developing innovative financial instruments to bridge the annual financing gap of US$ 2 to 3 trillion to make the 2030 Agenda a reality.
“At the current rate of investment, it will be impossible to achieve the SDGs by 2030. This is bad for people, bad for society, bad for the environment and bad for business,” said Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations in her remarks to business leaders. “I am encouraged to see the progress being made by many in this room to align your investment strategies with the SDGs.”
“Investors and companies must recognize the key development challenges in the emerging and frontier markets where they operate, and the risks they present for business. At the same time, they must see these markets as a source of potential growth for enterprises that are taking action in support of the SDGs,” she added.
The new network of CFOs will provide a platform for companies to create the corporate finance models of the future.
Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said, “Chief Financial Officers play an important role as investors in emerging and frontier markets, for instance through mechanisms such as foreign direct investment. Through our new network of CFOs, we will offer companies and other stakeholders a forum to collaborate and create a more sustainable financial market.”
The CEO Roundtable brought together a diverse group of global business leaders to discuss critical global priorities, explore partnership opportunities and reach consensus on the path forward to finance the Global Goals. The conversations revolved around the questions of how investors, financial institutions and corporations can shape the SDG financing agenda through capital market activities and corporate strategies.
PIMCO’s Chief Investment Officer Scott Mather said, “We think that it is impossible to make sensible medium- to long-term investments and evaluate the risks and the opportunities appropriately unless you take into account sustainability in a new way.” He said that the pace of change towards sustainability is accelerating, with even the investors who previously haven’t focused on the topic starting to recognize its relevance.
Calling it a mega trend, he said, “[There are] more and more investors who really want to know how their money is working for them and what it is accomplishing with regard to sustainability.”
Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel — the patron sponsor of the UN Global Compact Action Platform on Financing the SDGs — spoke about his company’s recent issuance of the first general purpose SDG-linked bond as a step towards the goal of financing sustainable development. “We have already evidence that a lot of companies are looking at this example and trying to replicate it — it is pretty easy to do that now. You will probably see a flurry of additional SDG-linked bonds on different subjects,” he said.
About the United Nations Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact works with companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact guides and supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.
For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at www.unglobalcompact.org.
To learn more about the UN Global Compact Action Platform on Financing the SDGs, visit here.