Sustainable Development Goals: A guide to responsible investment decisions

15 September 2023 by National Bank Investments
World map made up of trees

The flourishing and often complex world of responsible investment is sometimes difficult to navigate. Recognized worldwide, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a reliable benchmark for you and your clients.

What exactly are the SDGs? Here’s an explanation

In 2015, United Nations (UN) Member States, including Canada, unanimously adopted the 17 SDGs:

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Developmeent Goals

Their goal? Fighting poverty, improving the lives of people around the world and protecting the planet.

UN Member States hope to achieve concrete results with these objectives by 2030.

The SDGs: a universal and recognized framework

Responsible investment is gaining more and more followers and the offering of responsible solutions is constantly being enriched. This popularity can lead to confusion and even fuel fears of greenwashing.

In this rapidly changing context, the SDGs offer investors and companies a universal, credible, and recognized analytical framework. They make it possible to identify priority issues requiring efforts by the public, private and social sectors toward a more just and sustainable world.

How do they provide a benchmark for the financial sector?

If the SDGs are to be achieved by 2030, more than US $30 trillion of new investment is necessary over the next eight years¹. This amount can only be achieved if we see concerted action toward building a new, fairer, and greener economy.

The financial sector plays a critical role in helping to mobilize capital for these issues, including through the creation of investment opportunities to support sustainable development initiatives.

And what about investors?

The Sustainable Development Goals also offer benefits to investors by:

  • Providing a powerful analytical framework to identify tomorrow's winners in the transition to a more sustainable world
  • Relying on a broad consensus: the SDGs have been adopted by all 193 UN Member States
  • Contributing to priority global issues requiring investment.

NBI: Pioneer for SDG solutions in Canada

In a market where there is still little standardization, we believe that aligning investment decisions with a globally recognized framework allows for greater transparency and informed investment decisions.

At National Bank Investments (NBI), for example, the SDGs helped establish our definition of sustainability to develop the first lineup of actively managed sustainable investment solutions aligned with the SDGs in Canada.

In concrete terms, this means that our portfolio managers responsible for sustainability mandates must ensure that they invest in companies whose goods or services meet one or more SDGs.

As such, our sustainable solutions help investors achieve their financial goals, while ensuring a better, more sustainable future.

Legal notes

The information and the data supplied in the present document, including those supplied by third parties, are considered accurate at the time of their printing and were obtained from sources which we considered reliable. We reserve the right to modify them without advance notice. This information and data are supplied as informative content only. No representation or guarantee, explicit or implicit, is made as for the exactness, the quality and the complete character of this information and these data. The opinions expressed are not to be construed as solicitation or offer to buy or sell shares mentioned herein and should not be considered as recommendations.

National Bank Investments is a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, a member of Canada’s Responsible Investment Association, and a founding participant in the Climate Engagement Canada initiative. 

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