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Launched at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission’s 
Finance Working Group findings outline a series of recommendations for regulators and business leaders in building a system which is aligned with sustainable development in order to finance the $2-3 trillion of additional investment per year required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

How can $2-3 trillion of additional investment per year be unlocked out of a global GDP of approximately $115 trillion? This is what is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and central to the Better Business, Better World report, released by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission. As part of this initiative, the Commission’s Finance Working Group findings, Ideas for Action for a long-term and Sustainable Financial System, co-authored by Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Investec Asset Management, Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva, and Aniket Shah, Programme Leader of Sustainable Finance at the UN SDSN, argue that the financial system must be oriented towards long-term and sustainable outcomes. The report outlines a series of key findings and recommendations for regulators and business leaders in building a system which is aligned with sustainable development.

Recognising that financing the SDGs is a complex task, the report highlights that an unprecedented coordination between public sector organisation and private institutions is required, including significant reform within global financial regulation and financial institutions. Highlighted are the importance of the business community’s twin roles, both in terms of creating new financial products, instruments and technologies needed at all scales for the SDGs to be financed and also as partners in working alongside governments. This makes the reforms necessary to the financial system in order for global savings pools to be more effectively aligned with global investment needs.

The paper identifies five areas of specific focus; firstly, the alignment of financial regulation with sustainable development; standardising and mandating sustainability reporting for corporations; getting sustainable infrastructure investment right; supporting the formation of long-term pools of risk capital; and finally supporting financial innovation that accelerates inclusion.

Commenting on the findings, co-author and member of the Commission Hendrik du Toit said, “As stewards of long-term capital on behalf of this generation, we cannot ignore the welfare of future generations. The investment industry and its clients can support the achievement of the SDGs by creating simple, standardised sustainability metrics integral to the investment process. We also need new streamlined partnerships with governments and communities that can reduce risks for everyone and bring more private investment at lower cost into sustainable infrastructure development.“

Read the reports and access the video here:

Better Business, Better World
Business & Sustainable Development Commission

How can $2-3 trillion of additional investment per year be unlocked out of a global GDP of approximately $115 trillion? This is what is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and central to the Better Business, Better World report. Greater sustainability can help businesses overcome global burdens to growth and deliver trillions in new market value. This report identifies actions business leaders can take to capture their share of the prize and set the world on the path to a sustainable, inclusive economy.


Sustaining your world: How Business Can Help Solve the Planet's Challenges
Business & Sustainable Development Commission produced by Economist Films, the multimedia arm of The Economist

Sustaining Your World puts the key messages of the Better Business, Better World report into a sharp visual narrative, showcasing some of the commissioners and their companies. The video features our CEO, Hendrik du Toit speaking about the application of financial capital to the frontier markets. The primary purpose of this film is to reach our audience with an engaging story about the business opportunity of sustainable development from the perspective of global CEOs.


Ideas for Action for a Long-Term & Sustainable Financial System
The Commission Finance Working Group:
  • Hendrik du Toit, CEO of Investec Asset Management
  • Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva
  • Aniket Shah, Programme Leader of Sustainable Finance at the UN SDSN
Financing the SDGs is a complex task. It would require an unprecedented coordination between public sector organisation and private institutions; and reforms to global financial regulation and financial institutions. It would require a meaningful commitment from all corporations – large and small – to tackle the challenges outlined by the SDGs. This paper identifies five areas of specific focus. For each area of focus, the paper outlines key areas of recommendation for regulators and business leaders in the financial industry to take forward.


More about The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development

Launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development was established by Unilever CEO Paul Polman and former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown. The mandate of the Commssion is to articulate and quantify the compelling economic case for businesses to engage in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These recommendations for the finance industry run alongside the findings of the Commission’s main report. The release of which is timed with the World Economic Forum in Davos and the U.S. presidential inauguration – in which over 35 CEOs and civil society leaders argue that sustainable business models could open economic opportunities worth up to US$12 trillion, increase employment by up to 380 million jobs by 2030, and how this can be achieved. While the opportunities are compelling, the Business Commission makes it clear that two critical conditions must be met to build these new markets, most importantly that innovative financing from both private and public sources will be needed to unlock the US$2.4 trillion required annually to achieve the Global Goals.

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