SDG Progress Stalls; Investors Urged to Drive Positive Change

Investors have been urged to reignite progress in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, following a lacklustre year. Investment manager M&G Investments’ latest ‘SDG Reckoning Report’ noted that, despite small improvements, the majority of SDGs have stalled over the past 12 months. SDG 1 (‘no poverty’) and SDG 13 (‘climate action’) have improved their scores, the report noted, due to the reduction in people living in extreme poverty and the OECD’s estimate that the UN’s US$100 billion annual climate finance target was met in 2022. However, progress on other goals, such as SDG 12 (‘responsible consumption’) and SDG 16 (‘peace, justice and strong institutions’) has backtracked. “Insufficient action to decarbonise global energy, declining circularity and deteriorating global prospects of peace are the main factors stifling progress,” the report said. M&G Investments has said that investors have the opportunity to drive positive change across three SDG-related topics: tackling waste and shifting to a circular economy, climate change and nature loss, and challenging gender inequality. Ben Constable-Maxwell, Head of Impact Investing at M&G Investments, said: “Despite pockets of progress, achieving the 2030 targets will require ambitious and concerted action from all stakeholders. We are halfway towards the deadline and now is the time to get back on track with strong and decisive action to tackle the world’s major sustainability and development challenges. Investors have a significant role to play in driving capital towards achieving the goals and in holding businesses to account to ensure real change is realised.” This follows the UN’s SDG Summit in September, which focused on bolstering global efforts to achieve the 17 targets.

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