Whitepaper: A primer on investing in Sustainable Development Goals

Ten fundamental lessons for investors

Whitepaper BST

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In 2015, the United Nations (UN) emphasized the need to address today’s global problems by defining so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and this has had a major impact on the investment industry.
Based on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, seventeen SDGs were formulated. Together with asteadily increasing general awareness of global sustainability, these goals have opened up new perspectives for the capital markets to offer new products and services, not only in the pursuit of profitable financial returns, but also to serve social and environmental purposes – and thus to contribute to a better world. As the impact investment industry has positively reacted to the SDGs and has continuously increased the amount of capital invested, investors have started to show a
more fundamental interest in developing an understanding of what exactly ‘impact’ means, and how it can be measured. 

Although different tools are currently used in the market, each with its own impact measurement system, there is no single and standardized approach to measure impact on and contribution to SDGs. Our work is motivated by the wish to increase our understanding of key concepts and challenges associated with defining and measuring the social and
environmental impact of investing, and thus its contribution to the 17 SDGs. This whitepaper does not aim to present an all-encompassing ideal methodology to measure social and environmental impact or SDG objectives;
instead, it presents ten basic lessons learned from analysing the SDG impact of an investment fund and how these lessons can be helpful in understanding any fund’s connection to social and environmental impact and the SDGs.

Read more about our Modulair executive MBA in Business & Sustainable Transitions

  • Learn to determine strategy
  • Learn how to tackle society's challanges a complex world
  • Learn to establish partnerships that enable sustainable transition

Since its inception in 2007, this track of our modular Executive MBA – focused on finance, food and innovation – has developed into the broader Executive MBA in Business & Sustainable Transitions. Sustainability is not just a leading theme in the food sector, it is applicable to all industries. The Dutch have since long held the reputation of being excellent tradesmen. This position as a global front runner comes with obligations; after all: noblesse oblige.

Today, we continue to train our students in the application of the latest insights, such as integral chain management. Not just in the for the Netherlands vital agrifood business – with an annual export worth € 90 bn. – but also in the supply chain, energy, retail and transport sectors. With the conviction that market development and sustainability are 2 sides of the same coin.

Our world is becoming increasingly complex, and organizations that do not keep up with innovation are unlikely to survive. The 'winners' will be those companies with a forward-looking strategy, based on vision. A keyword in this is cooperation within and between value chains.

Further, a number of standards have been set, such as the ISO 26000 certification, and the UN has determined the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), giving corporations opportunities to contribute to solving global issues. The 17 SDGs offer businesses a practical toolbox of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) opportunities. The challenge for most companies is combining daily operations with achieving social impact. That is why this MBA connects business developmentmarket development and sustainability.

Read more about the Modular Executive MBA in Business & Sustainable Transitions.