With a little over eight years left for the world to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, there is cause to worry. Four interrelated crises – climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and inequality and social instability – together represent an existential threat, and recent events have made addressing them far more difficult.
I. Executive Summary
At the mid-point of the 2030 target date, the world is not on track to meet the SDG goals, with a significant funding need of US$135-176 trillion. The gap in funding has risen to US$102-135 trillion, with capital failing to flow for far more complex reasons than assumed, despite a record global SDG spending from all sources of US$3.6-4.7 trillion.
II. Progress Challenged by Conflicting Priorities in Worldviews
The global effort to fund the Sustainable Development Goals has been undermined by a series of threats to national and global security, with governments reallocating attention and resources away from long-term sustainability to managing near-term risks. As a result, the goals are moving further away despite the timeline to achieving them shortening, while the funding gap is widening.
III. All the Money in the World, And Who Has It
With c.US$450 trillion in gross liquid assets and US$95 trillion in annual economic output, there should be sufficient wealth, and wealth creation, in the world to fund security and sustainability. However, unlocking these amounts for secure sustainable development is about mindset as much as it is about money.
IV. The Finance Industry: Funding Sustainability
As the manager of c.90% of the world’s gross liquid assets, the finance industry has a potentially unique role to play in achieving the SDGs. Finance Industry leader's increasing engagement across ESG, sustainability and stakeholder point to an emerging common ground across the sector.
V. Capitalism’s Key Stakeholders to Drive Secure Sustainability
While the finance industry is the primary facilitator of virtually all the world’s capital, private sector financial institutions are only one of several stakeholders in the world’s economic system, each with a specific role to play to ensuring the SDGs are funded and met.
VI. Accelerating Impact on the SDGs
One of the most critical levers to achieve the SDGs is innovation. A confluence of innovation, solutions, entrepreneurs, and capital can deliver breakthroughs to overcome seemingly intractable challenges, creating a knock-on confidence that encourages the targeting of other challenges.
VII. The Way Ahead: Capitalism for a Sustainable Future
Despite a clear case for radical change in the face of existential threats to the world, the momentum and energy of the world’s current industrial model continues to dominate. Great corrections in other periods of major change in history have been accompanied by conflict that changed the world order.
Force for Good seeks to mobilize the deployment of capital as a force for good in the world at a time of profound and multi-dimensional change. Force for Good conducts research, publishes thought leadership and has an active outreach program to major stakeholders with the potential to act as a force for good in the world.