Impact Investing, Climate Change, and the SDG’s

Impact Investing, Climate Change, and the SDG’s


Youth Global Forum 2018

This week, I had the opportunity to represent Leaders in Energy at the Youth Global Forum in Paris from December 3rd – December 6th. The Youth Time International Movement brings together over 100 participants, experts, and young entrepreneurs from all over the world for a jam-packed three days of discussing ideas and solutions to pressing global problems. The event focused on Worldwide Impact Investing: The Role of Entrepreneurs. One prominent theme was sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and how to use impact investing to scale up and promote clean energy and sustainable lifestyles.

The Youth Global Forum seeks to equip and train young leaders and entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and skills for successful impact investment, as well as “foster leadership, human values and a strong sense of social responsibility.“ Through a combination of educational and training programs as well as cultural exchange activities, the Forum works to leave attendees “empowered and inspired to generate positive change within their communities.” A combination of keynote presentations, masterclasses, case studies and hands-on workshops conducted by experts in fields related to sustainability in economic, social, and environmental fields allows attendees to gain insight into the complex world of impact investing and learn about new opportunities to promote positive change. Furthermore, aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders of non-profits are able to ‘pitch’ their own projects, with the winners awarded Youth Time’s Idea Grant to make their ideas a reality.

Dr. Waleed Sadek is the current Co-chair of the Sustainable Development Commission Post 2015 at the United Nations. In 2015, he worked as an expert with COP21 to set the agenda for the Green Economy in Paris, and has been nominated as a global champion for women’s economic empowerment. Dr. Sadek is currently based in the United Kingdom, working to promote sustainable development through the lens of the UN’s 17 SDG’s.

In Dr. Sadek’s words, “we cannot hope to create a sustainable culture, but sustainable souls.”

The Role of Impact Investing in Achieving the SDG’s

Dr Sadek presented a ‘masterclass’ workshop during the Youth Global Forum conference entitled The Role of Impact Investing in Achieving the SDG’s. Dr. Sadek spoke about how private finance will play an increasingly significant role in leveraging additional resources to help developing countries achieve the SDG’s. He spoke about the importance of identifying new and innovative ways to engage with the private sector as a crucial partner, particularly through impact investing.

Importantly, Dr Sadek discussed how impact investment both “catalyzes private sector financing to address the SDG’s, but also brings innovative new approaches to addressing social and environmental issues, in addition to accountabilityfor outcomes.” He recently wrote a an article on climate change and the opportunities for green investment, originally published in the International Development Journal, which sets out the road map that he discussed in the workshop. Read his article below to learn more.

Climate change and new green investment policy framework

In recent years, climate change has been the subject of a great deal of political controversy. As scientific knowledge has grown, this debate is moving away from whether humans are causing warming and toward questions of how best to respond. Signs that the Earth is warming are recorded all over the globe. The easiest way to see increasing temperatures is through the thermometer records kept over the past century and a half. Around the world, the Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the last century, and about twice that in parts of the Arctic.

There is no doubt that is the astonishing weather experienced by the world last year and advances in climate science prove conclusively that fossil fuel emissions are causing global warming and something must be done about it.

This doesn’t mean that temperatures haven’t fluctuated among regions of the globe or between seasons and times of day, but if you average out the temperature all over the world over the course of a year, you see that temperatures have been creeping upward. It is vital that ” the Paris Agreement’s” implementation becomes a reality and that guides the global community in addressing climate change by curbing greenhouse gases, fostering climate resilience and mainstreaming climate adaptation into national development policies.

Tackling climate change

Successfully tackling climate change requires urgent policy action across countries to scale-up and shift public and private sector investments towards low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure. An integrated framework with clear and stable climate policies, sound investment policies and targeted financial tools and instruments is essential to overcome barriers to private sector investments and address market failures. Scaling up climate finance to developing countries is a priority. This will require strengthened measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems to raise accountability and transparency, and improved country systems to use climate finance effectively. Governments have a central role to play to mobilise capital to low-carbon, climate-resilient (LCR) infrastructure in the establishment of reform agendas that deliver “investment grade policies”. To address barriers to LCR infrastructure investment, climate change policies and their effectiveness need to be considered in a broader national policy context, including the enabling environment for investment and development. We have to set up and develop the elements of a “green investment policy framework” to help governments create and improve domestic enabling conditions to shift and scale up private sector investments in green infrastructure.

Policy framework

This policy framework can guide domestic reforms to steer use of limited public funds while also enabling and incentive’s private investment to simultaneously deliver climate change and local development goals.

The proposed approach towards a green investment policy framework consists of five elements:

1) Setting goals and aligning policies across and within levels of government. This includes: clear, long-term vision and targets for infrastructure and climate change; and policy alignment and multilevel governance, including stakeholder engagement.

2) Reforming policies to enable investment and strengthen market incentives for LCR infrastructure investment. This includes: sound investment policies to create open and competitive markets; and market-based and regulatory policies to “put a price on carbon”, remove fossil-fuel subsidies and correct market failures.

3) Establishing specific financial policies, regulations, tools and instruments that provide transitional support for new green technologies. These include: financial reforms to support long-term investment and insurance markets; innovative financial mechanisms to reduce risk or increase market liquidity; and transitional direct support for LCR investment.

4) Harnessing resources and building capacity. This includes R&D for green technology; human and institutional capacity building to support LCR innovation; monitoring and enforcement; and climate risk and vulnerability assessment.

5) Promoting green business and consumer behavior. This includes information policies, corporate reporting and consumer awareness programs, and public outreach. We need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and how each of us can contribute to a solution.

We need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and work towards how each of us can contribute to a solution.



Miriam Aczel is a President’s PhD Scholar at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, focusing on international energy and environmental science and policy. She is also Director of Communications for Leaders in Energy, and the co-founder and co-director of the Amir D. Aczel Foundation for Research and Education in Science and Mathematics. Miriam is also the Director of Communications and blog editor for Leaders in Energy

Dr. Waleed Sadek is the current co-chair of the Sustainable Development Commission Post 2015 at the United Nations Post 2015 at the United Nation, and an international economist. Dr. Sadek previously worked at the International Leadership Institute in United Nations University, lecturing about the importance of the mediation and conflict resolutions in the Middle East. Dr Sadek was chosen by the United Nations as a mediator during the Gaza War in 2008 and 2012 in order to bring a ceasefire between Palestinian and Israeli forces and rescue the injured.


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