Foreword

In a world destabilized by the global coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath, the sense of urgency in addressing global challenges related to sustainability, development and inclusion has grown exponentially over the course of the past year.

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Executive Summary

The UN Sustainable Development Goals will require an estimated US$116-US$142 trillion to fund. The funding gap of US$84-US$101 trillion represents a seemingly insurmountable hurdle. Closing this gap will require a global multi-stakeholder effort with the finance industry playing a critical role.

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Saving the Planet and Creating the Future

Following a century and a half of global development under industrial capitalism, the world today faces a number of increasingly critical challenges that risk undermining further progress.

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Funding the SDGs and a Sustainable Future

The additional financing required to meet the SDGs by 2030, has grown to nearly US$100 trillion over the next decade, according to our estimates. Sustainability financing to date focuses overwhelmingly on environmental.

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All the Money in the World, And Who Has It

The finance industry, controlling more than 85% of the world's gross financial wealth, is increasingly being called upon to fund the world's problems. This ever-rising call to act is not set to abate and the industry's leading financial institutions have begun to fund issues that were previously considered beyond their scope and mandate.

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The Common Ground: Substantial and Growing Across the Industry

In 2020, the finance industry took a much larger role investing in a sustainable future, rising to meet the challenges created by widespread economic and social disruption. The common ground among leaders in the industry is expanding and encompasses commitments to aligning their businesses.

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Breaking New Ground: Industry Leaders Are Raising the Bar

Following a year that has seen broad and deep economic disruption from the pandemic, the finance industry has taken on a leading role in building towards a more sustainable future through large-scale capital commitments and ambitious environment-focused goals.

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Financial Performance: Doing Well by Doing Good

The link between being a force for good and financial performance is a strong one. Among the companies examined in this report, there was a clear correlation between the scope and scale of their impact engagement.

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SDG Funding and Impact: Record Deployment, Challenges Ahead

Having recognized both the strategic importance and value of being a force for good, finance industry leaders are increasingly embracing supporting the SDGs as a priority across their organizations, developing an increasing number of business cases that are allowing them to commit capital at scale in pursuit of the goals.

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Stakeholders Across the Broader Finance Ecosystem

The challenge of financing the solutions for climate change and sustainable development is not one that the finance industry should, or can, bear on its own. The scale of the funding challenge is simply too large for the finance industry to address and requires alignment across stakeholders including individual savers, governments, and corporations.

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The Agenda for Change

Based on current financing trends, the world will not achieve the SDGs by 2030 despite the increasingly intense engagement by governments, individuals, and the finance sector. Without the solid foundation that meeting the SDG goals would provide, the world will be at a severe disadvantage in addressing further challenges facing the world beyond 2030.

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About

Following a century and a half of global development under industrial capitalism, the world today faces a number of increasingly critical challenges that risk undermining further progress.

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2021 Report: Capital as a Force for Good, Capitalism for a Sustainable Future.

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