Recently, United Nations member countries adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. These goals recognise "that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development."8
This has brought more focus on responsible investing, says Professor Carol Adams, an internationally renowned author in integrated and sustainability reporting, and social and environmental accounting.
The benefits and opportunities for businesses, and by extension investors, are “significant”, says Adams.
“Businesses which set out to contribute to the SDGs through their mission and strategy stand to gain a competitive advantage in developing products, services and processes fit for future challenges,” Adams told an Australian Senate inquiry into the SDGs9.
On the other hand, if businesses fail to respond to the demand for change, they may face substantial long-term risks, given the increased government pressure on emissions targets; changes to corporate governance principles; and green and sustainable finance initiatives, she concludes.