October 6, 2020
Director's Note
Dear Steering Group & Colleagues:

Since our founding on the sidelines of the 2018 UN General Assembly, SDG Impact, our Steering Group, UNDP colleagues—along with all of our stakeholders—have looked forward to this moment: the launch of the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity funds.

These Standards—our first set to reach the market—are the product of a groundbreaking initiative by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to empower investors and businesses with the clarity, insights, and tools required to support and authenticate their contributions towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Every day, the private sector is seeking and testing new ideas that go beyond the old objective of maximizing profit to shareholders and instead is looking towards maximizing returns to people and the planet. In this pivotal time—when the world is dealing with a pandemic, climate change and economic crisis, all at once—investors want to make an impact beyond the boardroom.

SDG Impact was founded to fill a longstanding gap in knowledge and clear guidance on how firms, such as private equity funds, can translate positive intent into action. The Standards for Private Equity, released today, provide clear guidance on how funds can contribute to the SDGs—the  world’s blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, welcome the launch of the SDG Impact Standards as a practical contribution to accelerating progress towards achieving the SDGs.

The Standards are designed for funds of all sizes in all geographies to use. Funds can apply the Standards at any stage of development. Investors can also use them as a self-assessment tool to align more effectively with the SDGs.

Next steps: We are beginning work with our SDG Impact Implementation Group. They are aiming to apply the Standards; and as they progress, they will give us needed feedback.

The Standards for Private Equity funds will form part of a suite of SDG Impact Standards that includes Standards for SDG Bonds and Enterprises—both still at various stages in the public consultation process. 

We will ultimately supplement the Standards with a voluntary assurance framework that will include an “SDG Impact Seal” to recognize best practices.

We welcome your continued engagement as we develop the assurance framework for the Standards for Private Equity Funds and move forward with the other two sets of SDG Impact Standards. Today’s launch is a shared success. I would like to thank everyone for their support, collaboration and feedback.

With warmest regards,

Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen