ABOUT The initiative
HOW IT ALL STARTED: AN INVITATION FOR CROSS-SECTORAL COLLABORATION
At the 2nd Impact Summit Europe (ISE, March 2016), Frank Elderson, Director of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB), and Hugo von Meijenfeldt, Implementation Coordinator for the SDGs within the Dutch government, invited investors, banks and other private sector actors to recommend ways in which they can help advance a transformative, forward-looking SDG investment agenda. This invitation was repeated at the Pymwymic Impact Days (April 2016), a separate event for family offices and experienced impact investors.
In response, 12 signatories - including 9 financial institutions - came together to invite the Dutch government and Central Bank to collaborate on a Dutch SDG investing agenda. Their call for action, which was sent to those Ministers referenced in the ‘Global Goals: implementatie, monitoring en rapportage’ parliamentary letter'* dd. May 2016 as well as the Minister and State Secretary for Finance, was received with enthusiasm and triggered a highly consultative process within and across sectors.
* Ministries of Economic Affairs; Foreign Affairs; Infrastructure and the Environment (I&E); Social Affairs and Employment; Education, Culture & Science.
THE DUTCH SDG INVESTING (SDGI) INITIATIVE
Scoped as an incubating initiative with a final deliverable in December 2016, the ultimate goal for this initiative was defined a to help establish "highways for SDG Investing" - at home and abroad. The signatories - which grew to include 18 Dutch financial institutions and 3 enabling networks - sought to do so through three main activities: (1) Advance our joint understanding of Dutch SDG investing; (2) Identify catalytic ways in which the Dutch government and regulators, in particular in context to leading Dutch value chains; and (3) Outline a joint SDGI narrative and roadmap that can help achieve greater convergence, collaboration an coordination between leading actors and stakeholders.
Signatories of the final report and Agenda - which grew to include 18 financial institutions - are listed below. Herman Mulder - chair of the Dutch SDG Charter Coalition, and Carolien de Bruin - CEO of social enterprise C-Change and ISE '16 co-convener, acted as facilitators of the Agenda. The Initiative is intrinsically a financial sector-led effort however, with a core group of financial signatories taking the lead on sub-areas of the larger Agenda. Specifically, four Working Groups (WGs) - each led by one or two signatories - were established to ensure the effort would produce concrete and tangible recommendations.
The results of the process are described in the report Building Highways to SDGI Investing. Areas of focus included (1) the need for greater 'blending' of capital between actors - led by PGGM and FMO; (2) the importance of making SDG investing the 'new normal' among retail institutions - led by ABN Amro, and Triodos; (3) stimulating the uptake of data standards - led by C-Change; and (4) the need to ensure an enabling regulatory environment. The latter area of focus was being addressed in context of the Platform for Sustainable Finance, an initiative which was launched in parallel by the Dutch Central Bank.
Important to note is that - while the Agenda reflects the perspectives of the financial sector as represented by the undersigned institutions - a wide range of government representatives across Ministries as well as representatives of the DNB's Platform for Sustainable Finance were consulted about its content.
THE ROAD AHEAD
With the SDGI Agenda we sought to recognize and map existing sustainability agendas and initiatives, and unpack areas where we know immediate opportunities for action and collaboration exist. In doing so, we sought to create a space for honest conversation where barriers or opportunities can be addressed.
On December 14th 2016, the SDGI report will be reviewed with an expanded group of investors, government officials, sector platforms and DNB representatives, with only one goal: Collectively determine an effective and efficient way forward, that leverages existing anchor initiatives, and recognizes the diverse nature and 'SDGI readiness' of individual sectors and institutions.
Further updates on the initiative will be made in due time.
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