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UNDP SDG Impact – Establishing global standards for private equity funds, bonds and enterprises

Features 04 Jan 2021

(Photo credit: UNDP Peru/Bruno Camara Rojo)

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address the global challenges we face today, including poverty, climate change, and environmental degradation, to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Meeting these goals globally requires active investment in innovative solutions. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has projected that in order to attain the SDGs by 2030, existing impact investment efforts by various actors are inadequate and would need to increase by another $2.5 trillion each year.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) SDG Impact aims to close this gap by developing a global vision, framework, and standards for what it means to invest for SDG achievement. It further aims to encourage and shift practices towards investments that incorporate sustainability from the outset and strive for maximum impact.

As an advocate for new pathways of philanthropy, Temasek Trust has been a member of the global steering group of the UNDP SDG Impact since May 2019, and has been collaborating with UNDP on its efforts to develop standards for SDG-enabling investment and a corresponding assurance framework. A common set of practice standards has been lacking, and impact investors have been in need of tools that would help them identify areas of need and make targeted investments. The SDG Impact Standards aim to help all investors and businesses support and authenticate their contributions towards achieving the SDGs, and are critical to advancing consistency and transparency.

The SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds were recently finalised and launched by UNDP in October 2020, providing a common language and clear system to assist private equity managers in making decisions about how to improve their contribution to the SDGs. 

Temasek Trust was actively involved in the development process of the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds. Temasek Trust had collaborated with our impact fund, ABC World Asia, to pilot the Standards and provide our input and feedback to UNDP. We also co-hosted an industry dialogue session with UNDP in Singapore, which was attended by over 30 investors and industry stakeholders.

Focusing on impact management and decision-making, the Standards provide clear guidance on how funds can contribute positively to sustainable development. The Standards have also been developed to ensure maximum flexibility, and can be utilised by all funds regardless of size, location, and stage of development.

More information on UNDP SDG Impact Standards and other tools can be found here: