Money Talks: How Finance Can Further the Sustainable Development Goals 

Speaking at the United Nations President of the General Assembly meeting in New York on 21 September, Aviva CEO, Mark Wilson, calls for businesses and Governments to work in partnership to successfully deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

A year since the global commitment to the SDGs, Mark Wilson, joins international leaders to discuss the acceleration of capital investment into the Goals, towards sustainable capital markets. 

Mark Wilson said; It is enlightened self-interest that determines why business will act sustainably.  If business isn’t sustainable then society is at risk.  And if society isn’t sustainable then business is at risk.”

Responding to a report by the Brookings Institution that identifies policy strategies to achieve the SDGs, Mark Wilson sets out Aviva’s practical recommendations, outlined in its new report  Money Talks: How Finance Can Further the Sustainable Development Goals  (PDF 874.3 KB) .

The recommendations include:

  • Creating corporate sustainability benchmarks, closely aligned to the SDGs which create a clear reputational and commercial interest in climbing up the rankings;
  • Establishing  a Responsible Investment Standard – a “Fairtrade for Finance”;
  • Aiming to create a UN Resolution on Sustainable Finance, which can act to crystallise work in this critical area, especially in improving financial literacy

The proposals on corporate sustainability benchmarks will then be discussed the following day at a side-event organised by Aviva together with the UN Foundation and the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, which will examine how to build a supportive coalition to make the rhetoric into reality.

Aviva also launched a sustainable finance policy toolkit in Brussels. It sets out 13 practical solutions for changes that can help create a sustainable finance sector in Europe. The toolkit is a response to the European Commission’s announcement that it will create an expert group to develop a sustainable finance strategy. We welcome the EU’s commitment and hope to help shape the strategy as it develops.  

The following article, published in November 2016 to coincide with COP22, gives Aviva’s perspective on climate risk management, setting out suggested actions at the microeconomic level, as well as the macroeconomic policy engagement role of investors and civil society.

Aviva Tragedy of Horizons Report.pdf  (PDF 106.1 KB)

One area of the Sustainable Development Goals that we are particularly focusing on is awareness and financial education.  We have taken Goal 12.8 and applied it to our own business - We are seeking to ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development through understanding how capital markets currently work and how they can provide a more sustainable future.  To this end, we have created an animation that highlights the journey a pension contribution takes as it makes its way through the capital markets system and how individual pension savers can influence companies to develop sustainable business strategies.  The video contains some calls to action for policymakers.