Volume 05 | February 2021
Director's Note
This update marks a changing of the guard. This will be my last update as Director of SDG Impact.
It is always difficult to leave a place and a team that mean so much to you. And it’s also a joy to have the opportunity to look back at what we have achieved together and know that you are leaving strong foundations to build on.

I came to UNDP three years ago to start developing what would become SDG Impact. The first task was to frame how best to bring UNDP’s unique value to meet private sector interest and excitement around supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, opening the possibilities for more solutions and capital to be directed effectively to achieving those goals by 2030.

I thank UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, whose vision and support made SDG Impact possible. We have benefited tremendously from our Steering Group, whose members have been so generous with their advice and expertise, always challenging us to go further and innovate more. And, of course, the team that has come together around this work have stepped up to turn the aspiration and challenge of SDG Impact into a reality.
As I look back on what has been achieved, it’s clear we have brought together the most developed practice in impact management into actionable guidance for funds, bond issuers, and enterprises that want to contribute positively to the SDGs.

Some of the highlights include:
  • Three sets of SDG Impact Standards that have gone through multiple rounds of feedback and pilots. They are living documents that can be revisited and adjusted as circumstances change. The Standards for Private Equity are in their final form, the Standards for SDG Bond Issuers will soon be released in final form, and the Standards for Enterprises are in the middle of review and revision. 
  • A third-party assurance framework that will allow private equity funds, bond issuers, and businesses to undergo a voluntary evaluation to assess compliance with the SDG Impact Standards and provide an Impact Seal to qualifying entities. The process of developing the training program for the assessors and the thresholds they will use to assure compliance is well underway - stay tuned for news. 
  • Comprehensive on-line training in impact measurement and management through our partnership with CASE at Duke University that will be available in summer 2021.
  • SDG Investor Maps that investors and businesses can use to identify high-impact opportunities in the geographical locations and/or areas of focus they wish to work in. Fifteen Maps are completed with 25 new countries developing SDG Investor Maps in 2021.
  • And very soon the release of the SDG Investor Platform - an online dynamic site designed to share the results of the SDG Investor Maps as well as the UNDP SDG Impact Standards. A demo for those who want a sneak peek of this new platform is available here.

I am pleased to report that SDG Impact will be in excellent hands under the leadership of Fabienne Michaux, the new Director. Fabienne has been the intellectual lead behind the UNDP SDG Impact Standards, is a champion of sustainable development and brings decades of expertise in the finance sector to this role.

My personal thanks to all of you who have supported the work so far at SDG Impact. I look forward to continuing to work with and learn from all of you.
I will join you as a champion of this work from my new role. Next week I join the Biden-Harris Administration as Vice President of the Office of Development Policy at the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution. This is the newest US government agency established to work with the private sector on solutions to the most urgent challenges in developing countries. It is a great honor to be part of building out the DFC and continuing the work of mobilizing capital toward the SDGs.
This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for the world as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I believe SDG Impact has a key role in keeping our focus on achieving the Global Goals.

Best Wishes,

Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen
SDG Impact in the Field
SDG Investor Maps – Sub-Saharan Africa

With six out of the 15 SDG Investor Maps completed so far being located in the Sub-Saharan Africa, SDG Impact conducted an analysis of the early findings on the priority sectors and investment opportunity areas across the continent.

Food and beverage, as well as infrastructure, were found to be key areas among all countries, especially regarding the sustainable inputs and production, and addressing post-harvest losses for the former, as well as affordable housing and utilising waste for the latter.

Healthcare and education were found to be additional priority sectors in several countries, particularly in South Africa. Please see a short overview of findings from Sub-Saharan Africa and the sample results from South Africa in this presentation.

SDG Investor Maps – Latin America

With the Colombian Investor Map finalized, the SDG Impact team is supporting Colombia’s Country Office to advance the specific opportunities, and bring together investors and partners interested in catalysing capital, and making the initiatives a reality.

UNDP Colombia, together with Grupo Sura, a conglomerate that operates in the banking, insurance, pensions, savings, and investment sectors, are generating tangible results in micro-insurance and parametric insurance products for agriculture, as identified by the SDG Investor map.

Team Speaking Engagements

With the SDG Impact Standards and Investor Maps underway, the SDG Impact team members are regularly engaged as invited speakers at impact investing knowledge-exchange events.

The team is helping inform and shape the evolving dialogue around impact, and is actively engaged in helping investors and other stakeholders strengthen their skills and understandings of impact measurement and management:

  • Amanda Feldman, Engagement Lead – Standards, took part in a series of talks about the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises, discussing the Standards’ adoption, as well as sharing her thoughts on impact transparency. She spoke at the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment NAB Dialogue series, as well as the IPIECA (IPIECA develops, shares and promotes good practice and knowledge to help the oil and gas industry improve its environmental and social performance) events on 17 February 2021.

  • Amanda Feldman also discussed the SDG Impact Standards in the context of global standards’ development and the guidance sought by organizations to make sense of impact management and impact maximisation, at the Impact Management Series event ‘Maximising Impact: From Rhetoric to Reality’, hosted by the Efiko Academy and Social Value International on 24 February 2021.

SDG Impact Facilitation
In Turkey…

Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development (IICPDS) team organized a successful impact facilitation event on 25 February 2021. The event launched with a brief opening ceremony with more than 60 participants with various backgrounds, followed by three consecutive sectoral breakout sessions on infrastructure, renewables, and healthcare.
The facilitation event was a true investor-enterprise convening. It kick-started communication around SDG investments within private sector and created an avenue for high-level public policy dialogue around Turkey’s agenda to mobilize SDG investments to accelerate SDG progress in the country. All three sessions had the full attendance both from the investor and company sides.

In Africa…

The Africa SDG Investor Maps were presented at the Sankalp Africa Summit 2021 on March 2nd. The session, entitled ‘Find Your Next Investment Destination: SDG Investor Maps as a Market Intelligence Tool for Investors’, convened investors and presented examples from the SDG Investor Maps from across the Sub-Saharan Africa, made possible through the generous support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Featuring opening remarks by Dr Ayodele Odusola, Resident Representative of UNDP South Africa and Director of the Africa Finance Sector Hub, the session provided localized insight into the sectors and market conditions that advance the SDGs, and offered an exclusive preview of the emerging SDG Investment Platform. Panelists discussed Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs) from both East and West Africa, with a focus on Kenya and Nigeria.

Upcoming event

Please join us!

10 March 2021, 1.00-3.00pm (GMT): SDG Investor Map Ghana Launch.

With the imminent completion of the SDG Investor Map in Ghana, UNDP Ghana in collaboration with the Business for Peace Foundation and the International Chamber of Commerce Ghana, is holding its Launch and Impact Facilitation event. Please see here for more information and to register.

SDG Impact Intelligence
SDG Impact Investor Maps 

After the completion of 15 SDG Impact Investor Maps across the countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, the SDG Impact team, in consultation with the UNDP Country Offices, completed a review and published an updated version of the SDG Investor Maps methodology.

The SDG Investor Maps 2.0 includes a more detailed guidance to the UNDP Country Offices on implementing the Investor Maps and strengthening the data points that underpin the Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs) derived with detailed impact and business considerations process. Please see the introductory presentation on the SDG Investor Maps for an insight into the Investor Maps and associated updates.

COVID-19 Investor Assessment

SDG Impact, supported by the PwC, completed a COVID-19 Investor Assessment in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Rwanda, generously supported by Norad. Through 75 surveys and 27+ in-depth interviews with private sector and financial institutions, as well as insights from the public sector conducted throughout June – September 2020, the assessment confirms a continued strong interest in investment opportunities across the countries, despite complex conditions worldwide.

The study has shown that essential sectors exhibit a higher investment demand, which is especially true for the business models with lower CAPEX requirements. Further, it has identified the technology and communications, healthcare, and agriculture as priority sectors for sustainable development opportunities over the coming years. You can download the report here.
SDG Impact Management
Training and Education

The SDG Impact team, in partnership with the Social Value International, will be launching a new training course in March/April 2021 on the SDG Impact Standards for Country Office personnel worldwide. Exact dates, registration links, and other details will follow soon - stay tuned!

Independent Assurance

The SDG Impact team is developing the SDG Impact Standards Assurance model in line with the best practices. We have recently launched a Working Group of global assurance experts to provide input to the process and model, and will be sharing the updates on the progress.

SDG Impact Standards – Updates

We have been through the first round of consultations on the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises. The updated version of the Standards, and the second round of consultations is coming shortly. Do not miss the opportunity to share your feedback.

Get involved / Work with us

Are you interested in being a part of an Implementation Working Group for the second consultation of the Enterprise Standards in February / March 2021?
Do you want to co-host a webinar on the Standards for your organisation or network? Get in touch via email.
In the News
SDG Impact and other public and private sector initiatives to spur investment in SDG achievement continue to generate attention in the worldwide news media. Some of the latest headlines include the following:

IPE, 5 February, 2021

Environment Analyst, 16 February, 2021

Journal of International Business Policy, 8 February, 2021

Observer Research Foundation (Occasional Paper), 16 February, 2021

Reuters, 10 February, 2020

Barron’s, 12 February, 2021

UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Blog, 19 February, 2021

Financial Times, 6 February, 2021

Financial Times, 16 February, 2021

Forbes, 17 February, 2021

Bloomberg, 3 February, 2021

Bloomberg, 17 February, 2021