Recent years have seen an influx of capital into sustainable investing, as countries and companies alike have realised the need to ensure investments are tied to positive environmental and social outcomes. According to the latest statistics by Bloomberg Intelligence, environmental, social and governance (ESG) assets are on track to exceed US$50 trillion by 2025, representing more than a third of the projected US$140 trillion in total global assets under management.
But the flurry of net-zero pledges and sustainable investments are currently insufficient, especially as countries recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. There exists a critical need to effectively encourage the allocation of public and private capital into enterprises and projects that are tied to real sustainable development outcomes.
To consolidate efforts and strengthen the global sustainability innovation ecosystem, Eco-Business and its partners including Go4SDGs have launched a new platform, The SDG Co, which connects start-ups, corporates, governments and investors working on sustainability.
The SDG Co draws inspiration from the Global Goals, adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect people and the planet. It is a tech-driven platform that matches the world’s capital looking for viable sustainability innovations to help them reach markets and achieve scale.
“Our vision is for SDG Co to be the de facto community space where people and businesses across the globe can network, exchange ideas, and build professional and personal skills and capabilities. The platform will help sustainability start-ups find capital, reach markets and achieve scale,” said Jessica Cheam, founder and managing director of Eco-Business, at the launch of the initiative during the event Unlocking capital for sustainability.
“We believe that together, we can drive the world’s sustainability efforts and accelerate our ambition to build an equitable future and achieve net-zero by 2050,” she added.
The platform features functions that will allow start-ups to connect with potential financial backers. Investors will also be able to scope projects to help direct their capital. As a hub for innovation and collaboration, organisations and individuals can search for relevant partners in specific industries to facilitate the hiring of talent, to tap into expertise or to access merger and acquisitions (M&A) opportunities.
The SDG Co will track how many connections are made across the globe, and in future editions will offer impact tracking capabilities for start-ups and enterprises. The platform is currently in its first version, with an upcoming app launch slated for Andriod and iOS by the end of 2021.
Future features of the platform include innovation challenges where start-ups across the globe can solve curated problem statements. The SDG Co ecosystem will provide a constant stream of relevant workshops, webinars and thought leadership across the 17 SDGs.
“It is an extension of the work we’ve already been doing with The Liveability Challenge, a Temasek Foundation initiative that searches the world for the best urban tropical sustainability solutions and brings them from lab to market by offering a S$1 million grant,” said Cheam.
Adriana Zacarias Farah, head of Global Opportunities for Sustainable Development Goals (GO4SDGs), said: “GO4SDGs is pleased to be part of The SDG Co, which will serve as a dynamic marketplace for innovation and opportunities for funding for SMEs, and is aligned to the GO4SDGs objective of accelerating circularity and climate funding for SMEs and start-ups in all regions.”
The SDG Co has also adopted the six principles of the Innovation and Sustainability Alliance (IxSA), which is a global group of practitioners who have created a new manifesto for sustainability innovation. Some of the six principles include being authentic and transparent, focusing on impact as a measure of success rather than profit, and taking pride in both doing well and doing good.
“IxSA is delighted to partner with The SDG Co to transform innovation for sustainability. The SDG Co’s mission to connect the vast universe of sustainability organisations together will be a significant enabler of the mindset and frameworks that IxSA stands for. We look forward to supporting and growing together with The SDG Co,” said Sang Shin, founder and co-creator of IxSA.
The SDG Co’s founding ecosystem partners include Go4SDGs, The Liveability Challenge, Temasek Foundation, IxSA, EB Impact, FundedHere, Tembusu Partners and the Climate Action SG Alliance.
Thanks for reading to the end of this story!
We would be grateful if you would consider joining as a member of The EB Circle. This helps to keep our stories and resources free for all, and it also supports independent journalism dedicated to sustainable development. For a small donation of S$60 a year, your help would make such a big difference.