Partnership is the New Leadership

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, announced the creation of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) in the middle of October. The network seeks to stimulate long-term investment in development and speed up progress towards achieving the SDGs.

    “We face widening inequality, increased devastation from conflicts and disasters and a rapidly warming Earth. These leaders have seized our sense of urgency, recognising that our pace must be at a run, not a crawl,” Guterres (Pictured, centre, bottom row) said. “They are committing to cooperate across borders, across financial sectors and even with their competitors, because it is both ethical and good business sense to invest in sustainable development for all people on a healthy planet.”

    - Partner Message -

    A total of 30 organisations have joined the GISD alliance. The GISD is co-chaired by Oliver Bäte (Pictured, fourth from the left, top row), CEO of Allianz, and Leila Fourie (Pictured, third from the right, bottom row), CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The alliance includes the heads of such prominent international corporations as CalPERS, the Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development (SISD), APG, Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, Bank of America, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), PIMCO and UBS.

    “As responsible companies, we can create long-term value by embedding sustainability into our core business,” said Bäte. “Investing in the stable development of societies across the globe is not only the right thing to do, but it also includes economic opportunities. We are convinced that investments in emerging markets can foster sustainable growth without losing sight of our customers’ interests.”

    The GISD Alliance is organised in three Working Groups. The aim of Working Group 1 is to increase the supply of long-term investment for sustainable development. Working Group 2 focuses on realising SDG investment opportunities in developing countries. Working Group 3’s goal is to enhance the impact of private investment on sustainable development.

    “The establishment of the GISD Alliance acknowledges the scale of the challenges we face collectively and the role that the finance sector has to play in meeting these challenges,” said Fourie. “Exchanges are a vital part of the financing ecosystem – promoting relevant disclosure, enabling effective price discovery, and ultimately mobilising funds to productive ends. We all have much work to do, and the time to start is now.”

    Inspired by Sweden

    “I represent SISD during the first year, and I feel very hopeful about this collaboration after experiencing yesterday’s energy and commitment from the highest level within these financially powerful players,” commented Richard Gröttheim, CEO at AP7. The purpose is for GISD to provide the impetus and capital for the global goals by catalysing new investments and inspiring corporate governance in line with the UN’s 17 sustainability goals.” The CEO was keen to note the contribution of SISD commenting that “we can be extra proud in Sweden for having played an important role in the formation of GISD” and noting that “the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has modelled the GISD on the Swedish investor network SISD.”

    Echoing Gröttheim’s conclusion that with the launch of the GISD, “Partnership is the new leadership”, Ronald Wuijster, CEO of APG, considers it a necessity for the financial sector to collaborate in order to create solutions for a sustainable future. “APG manages the pensions of millions of hard-working people in the Netherlands. It is our duty to see them enjoying their pension in a stable, eco-friendly and equitable world.”

    The pension provider, together with PGGM, recently announced the establishment of the SDI Asset Owner Platform. The goal of this initiative is to bring together like-minded long-term investors in order for them to be able to invest in the SDGs based on the same definition, classification (taxonomy) and data.

    Image courtesy of APG

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