UN Sustainable Development Goals: A Global Plan for Building a Sustainable Economy

26 May 2021 by National Bank Investments
Monthly NBI June 2021

On September 25, 2015, the member countries of the United Nations (UN) adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an action plan to fight against poverty, safeguard the planet and improve the lives of people around the world.

With these ambitious goals, member states hope to achieve tangible results by 2030. The UN estimates that the global investments needed to achieve them within the allotted timeframe could amount to some USD 7 trillion annually.1 The contribution of both the private and public sectors of all countries around the world is therefore not only to be hoped for, but indispensable.

To this end, the UN annually ranks the progress each member state makes in achieving the SDGs by 2030 in its Report on the Sustainable Development Goals.2 Each of them is given a score between 0 and 100, with 100 being the highest score. Below are the countries leading the pack, compared to the scores obtained by Canada and the United States for the year 2020:


“The greatest commercial opportunity of our time"

Citizens and various civil society organizations are increasingly relied upon to put pressure on governments around the world to redouble their efforts to combat poverty or climate change, for example. However, there are still doubts of the private sector’s willingness to have a real impact towards a more sustainable economy.

The truth is that the private sector can and must consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in their business decisions. In fact,  evidence shows that efforts to this effect tend to create long-term value. According to Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, and now UN Special Envoy on Climate Action:

“The carbon neutrality goal is the greatest commercial opportunity of our time. Companies, and those who invest in them and lend to them, and who are part of the solution, will be rewarded. Those who are lagging behind and are still part of the problem will be punished.”3

Companies and governments that are slow to initiate the shift towards a more sustainable economy are exposing themselves to extra-financial risks in the medium and long term. This is why it is necessary to complement traditional financial analyzes with approaches related to responsible investing, such as the creation of a sustainable portfolio.

Innovation is central to our products

And that's where NBI comes in. Our ambition is to be an accelerator that promotes the growth and evolution of investment solutions, with the aim of making a positive impact in the lives of our clients, employees and partners. Our leadership in responsible investing is very much aligned with this orientation.

As part of our open-architecture structure, portfolio managers who are responsible for sub-managing our Sustainable Development ETFs must ensure that they invest in securities that contribute to achieving one or more of the SDGs. In that sense, we can demonstrate that our Sustainable Development ETFs contribute positively to the common good while creating value for investors.



Legal notes

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Investment Report 2014 - Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan.

United Nations 2020, Report on the Sustainable Development Goals.

United Nations Climate Action Finance, Mark Carney: Investing in net-zero climate solutions creates value and rewards.

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.

NBI ETFs are offered by National Bank Investments Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of National Bank of Canada. Management fees, brokerage fees and expenses  all may be associated with investments in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Please read the prospectus or ETF Facts document(s) before investing. ETFs are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. ETF units are bought and sold at market price on a stock exchange and brokerage commissions will reduce returns. NBI ETFs do not seek to return any predetermined amount at maturity.

National Bank Investments is a member of Canada’s Responsible Investment Association and a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

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