World leaders came together under the United Nations Assembly and established the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. This was a great milestone achievement which meant there was finally a call for everyone to start making a difference.
Taking a look at the Financial Industry, which is one of the largest industries globally, one is curious as to how much of a difference this specific industry has made by meeting those SDGs. . Sadly, after researching, the progress since 2015 has been mainly on GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
GOAL 11: is actually one of the broadest goals seen on numerous financial organizational websites. There are limited details, with a handful of common comments such as, “… we focus on sustainability as we have implemented various strategies internally, starting with our employees…”. Thinking about this more carefully, well yes, one will need to start internally in order to ensure that organization is meeting the SDGs. An external organization will not come along to meet those goals on their behalf unless they have been officially contracted to do so.
Now, let us strip away the high level bla bla and concentrate on the very few points that speak directly to the SDGs and partnerships. What is actually available that the finance organizations have published? The commonality is that very few financial industries have managed to actually make a slight difference resulting in achieving and sustaining the SDGs. .
During June 2021, financial organizations were releasing their SDGs progress reports, to be able to align with the UNs progress reporting – ‘Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals’, which was released in April 2021. The good news, there are multiple reports detailing what SDGs are been focused. Thus, within the financial industry the common SDGs are:
- GOAL 5: Gender Equality
- GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
- GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Citigroup Inc.’s report is a brilliant example of this. They have reported on what they have done since the SDGs where established, some progress that has been made and a ramp up of the next set of milestones that need to be achieved by 2030.
These reports that are now appearing within Google Search, pertain high level goals to be achieved with a strong message of the importance of reaching those targets, in order to help improve overall living within the world. The disappointing part is how long it has taken these financial organizations to draft and publish these reports.
The formation of partnerships amongst the financial industries, has been very slow and costly, with inadequate implementations followed by a lack of support. But on the brighter side, these organizations are now starting to take-up the ownership and claim what they will be doing going forward. The acknowledgement of partnering has finally sunk in, as per Citigroups’ quote: “Our diverse and wide-ranging partnerships strengthen our business and our ability to innovate and drive progress. We see the same potential in partnerships to collectively achieve the SDGs”.
Yes, in order to move forward and achieve the SDGs or any important goal, it all starts with a team coming together and collaborating in order to achieve such success. Hopefully, we will see more results in a quicker and more adaptable manner, that will have a sustainable impact on the entire world.