The intersection of impact investing and UN SDGs

    This article is part of NordSIP Insights – NordSIP Insights – SDGs 2020: 17 Shades Faster. Read or Download the entire publication here.

    by Tara Stilwell, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Wellington Global Impact Fund
    and Campe Goodman, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Wellington Global Impact Bond Fund

    As the world struggles to overcome the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we believe impact companies and issuers that are focused on providing innovative solutions to the world’s biggest challenges may emerge in coming years as differentiated investment opportunities. We believe our public-sector opportunity set will expand on the heels of this crisis, and we have never been more excited to be part of the impact investing community or to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    The past year has been eventful for Wellington Management’s impact investing franchise. Combining the portfolio management teams of Wellington’s two impact investment strategies, focusing on equity and bonds, respectively, has created a synergy that enables us to identify what we see as compelling opportunities across asset classes. Our goal continues to be identifying equity and fixed income investments that meet our standards of materiality, additionality and measurability, and to engage with management teams to ensure the viability of our theory of change — or impact thesis — for each organisation.

    Achieving tangible impact

    In 2019, Wellington’s Global Impact Fund and Global Impact Bond Fund invested in solutions that improved the lives of billions of people. For example, investments:

    • Provided education and job training to more than 1.5 million people worldwide and funded the operation, renovation and construction of schools for more than 850,000 students
    • Supplied more than one million affordable housing units
    • Generated nearly 1,100 terawatt hours of renewable energy, enough to power almost 90 million homes and avoid 760 million metric tons of CO2 emissions
    • Cleaned more than 6.5 billion cubic meters of polluted water
    • Provided digital access to nearly 610 million people in developing countries
    • Protected more than 504,000 organisations (and millions of their customers) with cybersecurity products

    As of 31 December 2019 | The specific securities identified are not representative of all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for clients. It should not be assumed that an investment in the securities identified has been or will be profitable. Actual holdings will vary for each client and there is no guarantee that a particular client’s account will hold any or all of the securities listed.

    Our impact themes and alignment with UN SDGs

    We launched our first impact approach for institutional investors in 2015 with a diversified set of 10 impact themes, which were based on years of research and extensive consultation with internal and external advisors. When the UN SDGs were published, we were pleased to see how well our themes aligned. In 2018, we added our “Safety & Security” theme to reflect the growing importance of cybersecurity and home, road and workplace safety. For each company and issuer in our portfolios, we tag the goals we believe they align with, and, if appropriate, to any of the 169 underlying targets outlined by the UN. For example, the top equity holding in our Education & job training theme provides educational and professional services to disadvantaged populations in many countries; our top fixed income holding funds school infrastructure-improvement projects in low-income areas in the US. We tag these organisations as such:

    Target 4.3: Ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational, and tertiary education, including university
    Target 4.4: Substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills — including technical and vocational skills — for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship

    Target 10.2: Empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all
    Our high standards for inclusion in our portfolios result in strategies that support many of the SDGs. The checkmarks indicate which of the goals our impact strategies currently align with.

    Not all companies or issuers can be tagged to an underlying target because the targets do not capture all impact categories we consider critical, such as bridging the digital divide or providing cybersecurity products and services. Without exception, however, the companies and issuers we invest in offer what we consider to be much-needed solutions to many of the major challenges identified in the SDGs. Wellington is proud to continue supporting — and working toward — the UN SDGs, the world’s blueprint for securing a sustainable future for generations to come.

    For more information about the Wellington Global Impact and Global Impact Bond funds, as well as our complete Sustainable Investing platform and investment products, please visit or contact:
    Dennis Kwist +44 20 7126 6107 | [email protected]
    Therese Axelsson +44 20 7126 6603 | [email protected]

    Disclaimer: For professional or institutional investors only. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of the original investment. This material and its contents are current at the time of writing and may not be reproduced or distributed in whole or in part, for any purpose, without the express written consent of Wellington Management. This material is not intended to constitute investment advice or an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to purchase, shares or other securities. Investing involves risk and an investment may lose value. Investors should always obtain and read an up-to-date investment services description or prospectus before deciding whether to appoint an investment manager or to invest in a fund. Any views expressed are those of the author(s), are based on available information and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views and may make different investment decisions for different clients.
    Except where registered for public sale, Fund units are offered only to qualified or professional investors on a basis that it does not require the registration of the Fund for public sale. The Fund only accepts professional clients or investment through financial intermediaries. Please refer to the latest Key Investor Information Document (KIID), the Fund offering documents for further risk factors, pre-investment disclosures, and the latest annual report (and semi-annual report) before investing. KIIDs are available in the official languages of each country in which the Fund is registered for sale (please visit UCITS Funds are authorised and regulated as UCITS schemes by Central Bank of Ireland – Wellington Management Funds (Ireland).
    This material is provided by Wellington Management International Limited, a firm authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

    Photo by Hannah Cedzo on Unsplash

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