Capital as a Force for Good: Capitalism for a Sustainable Future

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In the foreword, Antonio Guterres notes that COVID-19  has had a dramatic impact on progress towards the SDGs. The report estimates the necessary fiscal stimulus in the advanced economies reaching nearly 28% of GDP, but the figure drops to 6.5% in middle-income countries and to 1.8% in the least developed countries. To meet the SDGs by 2030, an estimated US$116-142 trillion is needed, with a funding gap of $84-101 trillion. Finance industry leaders have stepped up their sustainability and development funding, committing $9.5 trillion to 2030. But the majority of capital is focused on advanced economies, despite the current funding shortfall being in developing countries. 

A strategic and integrated multi-stakeholder approach is needed to meet the SDGs, in that individuals collectively own 64% of gross liquid assets ($255 trillion), while governments control 36% of gross liquid assets. The case for capital being deployed as a force for good is associated with up to 8x outperformance for the most engaged companies. The SDGs and the transition to a superior future need to be funded as investible opportunities for capital.

Major investment themes:

  • Closing the SDG Funding Gap
  • Mass scaling of existing green energy solutions
  • Regeneration of ecosystems to renew the 25% of global land that has been degraded
  • Providing inclusion to the >3 billion people without internet access
  • Mass education and skill development
  • Financial services for the 67% of world population that remain un- or underbanked
  • Health care and social security for the 3.9 billion people lacking access
  • Sustainable living for the 2.4 billion new urban inhabitants by 2050
  • A 70% increase in global food production by 2050 for a world population of 9.7 billion
  • Radical energy breakthroughs for clean, affordable, reliable, and abundant energy for a new civilization. 

Also see: Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe by Alessio Terzi of the European Commission Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (Harvard University Press, April 2022, 320p).