Sustainability depends on partnerships

15 Dec 2020

Maxine Gray

Strategy development, Investec Wealth & Investment

Simone Smith

Head of Compliance, Investec Wealth & Investment

The 17th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) reminds us that it’s not just the job of governments to forge a sustainable future. It will need scientists, academia, the private sector and all parts of civil society to work together.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise referred to as the “global goals for sustainable development” are the roadmap to the future we need to build. Goal 17 is “Partnerships for the Goals” which in our view, is foundational to achieve any, and all, of the 17 goals.
 
Goal 17’s objective is to revitalise global partnership for sustainable development. It is well documented and recognised that the achievement of one or more of the SDGs in solving the world’s problems can only be realised with strong cooperation and global partnerships.
 
Initially, when first learning about the global goals, it’s a common perception that achieving them is the responsibility of governments.  Goal 17 dispels this myth and aims to ensure that the solutions are not only for government to seek in isolation but rather in bringing together governments, civil society, scientists, academia and the private sector to collaborate and collectively find these solutions.
 
The fundamental reason for the goals being global is to ensure that no one is left behind and the call to action required is that all countries, both developed and developing, must work together.
 
Goal 17 has 19 targets, which aim to enhance global macroeconomic stability as well as global partnership for sustainable development. The targets within Goal 17 transcend across finance, technology, trade, capacity building, data, monitoring and accountability.

A "breakthrough mindset" is required

Goal 17 is probably best illustrated currently through the globally coordinated approach in finding a viable vaccine for the coronavirus. Never before have we witnessed the borderless approach scientists have taken through sharing research, findings and progress on a daily basis to collectively solve one of the biggest common challenges we are facing.
 
As cited in The New York Times, “While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history” - and this is exactly what Goal 17 strives to achieve. 
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a mindset and behavioural shift as illustrated above, as well as through remote working conditions which we believe to be foundational in the pursuit of Goal 17.
 
As our world has become increasingly complex and interconnected, so too have the challenges we face. The exponential and unpredictable rate of change adds to the need for solutions, which may only be found through partnerships. 
 
The SDGs are globally relevant but need to be solved in local contexts through solutions which create exponential impact. To achieve this, we need to apply a breakthrough mindset, connecting people with diverse experience and expertise to cultivate solutions which may not be found in isolation of their shared wisdom. 

Unlocking collective growth

As highlighted at the 2020 SingularityU South Africa Summit, expanding your network and using your influence to connect people is a simple yet powerful step in working towards solving the global challenges we face and tangibly putting Goal 17 into practice.
 
We need exponential thinking, empathetic leadership, and a strong sense of humility across solution seekers to create the impact required to meet the goals by 2030.
 
In moments of collective crisis, we are driven to think differently, and look forward with courage and maturity to move forward understanding that collaboration and reciprocity can unlock collective growth. 
 
Considering the challenges that the world faces today, it is daunting to think about solutions. However, there are estimates that by achieving the SDGs, the world can unlock US$12 trillion in market opportunities.
 
This means that the world’s biggest problems are also a gateway to unlocking the world’s biggest opportunities.
 
We are proud that Fani Titi, Investec CEO, is one of only two South Africans to join the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD). The GISD is a group of global leaders tasked with freeing up trillions of dollars from the private sector to finance the SDGs. 

Invest in human partnerships

At a personal level, you may wonder how this is relevant to you and what you can do to bring about change aligned to Goal 17. While the possibilities are endless and the resultant change is transformative, the starting point is simple. It is about seeking opportunities to share, collaborate and create connections between those in your sphere of influence, to unlock value and shared meaning.  
 
You may do this by identifying an organisation working in an area you are passionate about that needs funding or support or by encouraging social responsibility towards projects related to sustainable development.
 
Irrespective of your chosen action, it is about mobilising our growing individual consciousness in a direction that seeks to evolve our behaviour, encourage responsible consumption and transform business practices for collective prosperity.
 
As the African proverb states, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together’.
 
It’s time we take the first steps together, as partners in the quest to achieve the SDGs and build a sustainable equitable future for all. It’s a journey we need to make personal, while understanding the responsibility and power of our collective role in fast tracking the required transformation we seek.
 
We have all the technological advancement we need to design the solutions we seek. What we need more of, is to go beyond technology and invest in human partnerships that will build our sustained prosperity, and it all starts with each of us.  

Responsible Investing and Sustainability at Investec Wealth & Investment

As Sustainability is core to our fundamental investment approach, we have integrated ESG considerations into our investment decision making and broader investment process. 

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