Concerning the FT’s column “Covid-19 Shows Why ESGs Matter,” sustainability IS more important now than ever. However, Covid-19 makes it clearer than ever why the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are so important and why we need to move the dialogue to delivering on the SDGs not just focusing on ESGs.
The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by the year 2030. Most importantly, the SDGs call for leaving no one behind. The SDGs encompass all of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESGs) issues which one can use to evaluate a company’s adherence to its contract with society, however, the SDGs are much broader.
We need a better balance between focusing on the needs of both the developed and developing economies. After all, while globalization will surely contract as businesses reassess supply chains and other factors, international travel, no matter how much it may be curtailed, is here to stay. And thus, so is the potential for the spreading of viruses and other diseases.
We all must do our part to deliver on the SDGs in order to lift everyone out of poverty and fix the vexing global issues, rather than focusing on ESG ‘stakeholder principles,’ so that we all can live in a healthier and safer world.
Key to achieving our shared goal of delivering on the SDGs by 2030, is closing the financing gap. In order to do this, we need consistent, quality data so the private sector can play its role in supplying that capital as well as bringing essential resources, know-how and jobs in developing countries to advance the SDGs. Using Big Data and AI, Global Algorithmic Institute, GAI, is engaged in implementing several multi-year projects with the UN and its agencies including UNCTAD, UNEP, the UN Global Compact, UNDP and UNDESA Finance for Development.
Through these UN partnerships GAI will do our part as the global aggregator, repository and analytical tool for SDG data which focuses on global firm-level, private sector data which countries can use to mobilize capital on a large scale from the private sector to where it is most needed.
Time for investors and corporations and all of us to think bigger and focus on what really matters: delivering on the UN Sustainability Goals to make the world a safer, healthier and more equitable place. If we don’t, in the end, no adherence to ESGs will matter.