Sustainable Development Goals — What Are The SDGs?

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), officially known as “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” consist of 17 goals and 169 targets that were created to end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, and protect the planet. The SDGs set a course and framework to achieve these objectives. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, achieving these goals will require investment as high as $7 trillion, with an investment gap in developing countries of about $2.5 trillion.1 However, achieving these goals could open up $12 trillion of market opportunities in food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being, while creating 380 million new jobs by 2030.2 The goals offer a compelling growth strategy for business and the world economy; however, the SDGs also need business to seize opportunities and advance progress.

The SDGs have been gaining broad support. Since their launch, foundations from around the world have contributed more than $50 billion toward achieving the goals.3 Additionally, companies are incorporating the SDGs as a means of mitigating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks as part of their overarching business strategy. For example, 40% of the world’s largest companies currently discuss the SDGs in their corporate reporting.4,5 Identifying good corporate governance – as demonstrated by excellent transparency, risk awareness, and positioning to take advantage of these coming opportunities – could be a major driver of long-term value for investors. Sustainability and performance in a portfolio work together under the framework of the Global Goals.

History and Development of the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted on September 25, 2015. They reflect the culmination of a working process among 193-member states covering a broad range of sustainable development issues.6 In a large measure, the SDGs reflect a working agenda aimed at addressing the human and environmental challenges of our age. These challenges were concisely captured by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General from 2007-2016; “We don’t have a plan B because there is no planet B.”7



~ Ban Ki-moon