GPIF and CalPERS chiefs join UN-convened Global Investors for Sustainable Development

CEO-level group aims to mobilise private capital towards the SDGs

The United Nations has announced the membership of a CEO-led grouping of 30 major investors and corporates which will aim to mobilise private capital toward the Sustainable Development Goals over the next two years.

Members of the initiative include the CEOs of Allianz, APG, Aviva, Bank of America, CalPERS, Citigroup, ICBC, Nuveen, PIMCO and UBS, while GPIF’s CIO, Hiro Mizuno, represents the trillion-dollar Japanese state pension fund.

The new body is called the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance and will serve as a platform to scale up investments through knowledge transfer and partnerships. Oliver Bäte, CEO of Allianz, and Leila Fourie, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, have been appointed co-chairs. It was first announced back in April.

Members will be organised into three working groups based on the following themes: Increasing the available supply of long-term investment for sustainable development (co-chaired by Citigroup & Emirates Environmental Group), Realizing SDG investment opportunities in developing countries (co-chaired by Allianz SE & Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès) and Enhancing the impact of private investment on sustainable development (co-chaired by Nuveen & UBS).

GISD is convened under the auspices of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and coordinated by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN body whose new High-Level Advisory Board (HLAB) includes leading public policy figures such as Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz and political leaders such as Mexico’s Ernesto Zedillo.

The group’s membership is to meet once a year, although their representatives will meet more frequently. Within its two-year lifetime, GISD will deliver to the Secretary-General recommendations on the regulation and corporate policies needed to scale private sector investment into the SDGs, channelling capital to where it is most needed and incorporating the SDGs into business practices.

GISD aims to replicate the success of the Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development (SISD) – a partnership of 18 institutional investors including most of the AP funds, SEB, Alecta and Swedbank Robur – which was coordinated by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

SISD members “work side by side with a development agency” on development issues and investment opportunities, and are encouraged to participate in “voluntary projects” and work collaboratively on learning and the sharing of best practices.

Last year, four SISD members made a joint SEK2.5bn (€0.24bn) investment in World Bank bonds aligned with SDG 11 – Sustainable cities.Aside from this, other investments have been made in green and blue bonds, and Agenda 2030-aligned bonds.

In the first year, the 18 members of the SISD will have a seat on the GISD steering committee. Richard Gröttheim, CEO of AP7 is the Swedish network’s first representative, taking over from Jens Henriksson, the former CEO of Swedish insurance group Folksam who recently left to take over troubled Nordic bank Swedbank.

Gröttheim told RI in an earlier interview: “We are pleased that SISD is being used as an example for this new initiative. Even though we are all competitors, we have found a model which allows us to work together, from CEO level, down to the specific working groups and it would be excellent if we could share some of our experiences with the GISD.”

GISD Members

Allianz SE
Banco Santander
Bank of America
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)
Consejo Mexicano de Negocios
Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes
Emirates Environmental Group
Enel S.p.A
First State Super
Government Pension Investment Fund
Investec Group
Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Pal Pensions
Sintesa Group
Standard Chartered
Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development
TDC Group A/S
UBS Group AG