Private Sector Should Account For SDG-Related Environmental, Social, Governance Standards In Their Strategies

Project Syndicate: Unlocking Private-Sector Funds for Sustainable Development
Mahmoud Mohieldin, senior vice president for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships at the World Bank Group, and Svetlana Klimenko, lead financial management specialist at the World Bank Group

“…The key to achieving the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] is … to impel public companies — especially the large firms that receive the majority of institutional investment — to account for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria relevant to the SDGs in their decision-making. … Only a few investors and businesses are currently using SDGs as the basis for sustainability-focused strategies. But the only way to boost shareholder value and contribute to meeting the SDGs is for companies and investors to ensure, in advance, that they focus on ESG standards that are both material to their industry or business and useful to advance the SDGs. … By creating smart, comprehensive, and clearly defined strategies, private companies can not only get credit for their efforts; they can also help governments to establish realistic budgets and clear financing plans for the SDGs” (7/26).

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