Investing in the UN Sustainable Development Goals

17 Pages Posted: 17 May 2017

See all articles by Willem Schramade

Willem Schramade

RSM Erasmus University; Sustainable Finance Factory

Date Written: May 16, 2017


The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of ambitious targets for making the world a better place. As the SDGs offer a path to value creation for both society and shareholders, they present both risks and opportunities for corporates and investors – and they’d better be prepared for the SDGs. This means, first of all, exploring what the SDGs are: second, finding out how they are exposed and what risks and opportunities the SDGs pose; third, setting their own specific goals, which among others means integrating them into incentives with strong KPIs; fourth, measuring and reporting on the SDGs.

For investors, it is important to recognize that not all SDGs are equally investable and that reporting on key SDG performance indicators is still too scarce to rely on for investment purposes. To overcome this problem, we developed a tagging approach that allows us to assess our SDG exposure and invest in the SDGs now. As better data becomes available, we continue to develop and use better impact metrics.

Corporates are starting to explore the SDGs. They are increasingly referring to the SDGs in their communication, but targets and KPIs on the SDGs are rare. Such KPIs are needed though, as companies will have to report on their progress on achieving their goals. Ultimately, the SDGs will be integrated into their strategy and investment decisions. This article argues what KPIs on the SDGs ideally look like. It also shows how some pioneering corporates are dealing with them.

Keywords: impact; sustainability; investing; asset management; sustainable development

Suggested Citation

Schramade, Willem, Investing in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (May 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Willem Schramade (Contact Author)

RSM Erasmus University ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T09-53
3000 DR Rotterdam

Sustainable Finance Factory ( email )

Rotterdam, 3034 SG
0682011037 (Phone)

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