Today, when the world is facing countless problems, from the climate crisis to social injustice, from hunger and thirst to gender inequality, the need to create positive social and environmental impact has become more immediate than ever. Since 2015, when the United Nations published the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and even further, since 2000, when the UN published the Millennium Goals, countries have been making action plans to find solutions to these problems. However, as we have observed over the years, the world is experiencing great difficulties in achieving these goals at the desired time. Exactly at this point, impact investing emerges as a model solution to the priority dilemma between the world’s social, environmental and economic crises.
How do impact investments contribute to the sustainable development agenda?
Of course with the national advisory boards (NABs) who are the stakeholders and main advocates of the impact ecosystem! Although the SDGs constitute a crucial framework for achieving a sustainable future, goals, by themselves, do not provide a collective answer to the question of how and by whom. Making a well-functioning and effective action plan is only possible to the extent that we move away from one-size-fits-all approach, and evaluate each country on their own terms.
As many studies have shown, the countries of the world are at different points in realizing the SDGs. Since they all have different social dynamics and priorities depending on their cultural differences, political structures, financial situation and social diversity, it is essential to consider each country’s modi operandi exclusively and make different action plans for them. Thereby, the world needs an establishment of a distinctive structure that will lead countries to draw tehir own road maps.
And this is where the impact investing model and impact investing advisory boards come into the field. Impact investment, which is an investment model that aims to create a positive and measurable social and environmental impact while also generating financial return, has a fundamental role in the realizing SDGs. Awareness raising and capacity building activities are of great importance in ensuring that impact investments are the mainstream investment choice and mobilizing public, private and non-profit sectors around the same goal is essential for the well-functioning ecosystem. This can only be achieved by the establishment of a national advisory board that acts as an umbrella organization bringing all the actors together in forming a national impact investment ecosystem, creating the necessary roadmap after analyzing the impact investment potential and needs in that country, and developing policies accordingly.
What about the international ecosystem?
The Global Steering Group for Impact Investing, known as “GSG”, was established in August 2015 under the UK’s presidency of the G8, with the mission to promote impact investment and entrepreneurship around the globe to benefit people and the planet. As a non-profit and independent steering organization, GSG supports the creation of an impact investment ecosystem in each country and the implementation of the task forces. If the task force of the country adopts bylaws, action plans and governance structure that enables them to operate effectively and independently within the framework of the principle of transparency, they apply for a membership to the GSG. After the audit processes of GSG and with the decision of the Board of Directors, task force gains the title and status of the National Advisory Board as the only international representative of the country on impact investment.
GSG, chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen, currently has 35 member states. Each country with their National Advisory Boards has been collaborating under the GSG network and working on establishing a joint action plan for the realization of SDGs. Working quickly and closely, these institutions carry out projects that brings solutions to the social and environmental crises both of the country they represent and of the world, while contributing to economic growth at the same time.
As suggested by Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals, establishing partnerships for the goals is essential for a sustainable world. For countries, being a member of the GSG, which brings together impact investing advocates on an international scale, is an important step towards realizing the Goal 17, which supports all other SDGs. There are 35 member countries so far. Where does our country stand?
Read the story of Turkiye in the next blog post.