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Aligning SEAF’s impact with the SDGs

Aligning SEAF’s impact with the SDGs

By Robert Vodicka III, SEAF Vice President, Business Development

Since their inception in 2015, the SDGs have become the standard in impact targets, not only in the impact investment and development industry, but increasingly in commercial aspects of finance and other corporate arenas. We’ve seen the SDGs steadily increase in prominence, whether it be in the news, in new partnerships or with regard to our impact work at SEAF. While certain trends come and go within the impact space, the SDGs appear to have become the common language in which the private and public sectors are able to converse in.  While the indicators could be further strengthened, we believe that the SDGs will only grow stronger over time as the context in which development initiatives will be framed.

SEAF’s partnerships have increasingly found root in the common bond that the SDGs provide. We are proud to be part of the Align 17 platform, whereby our products are made available to high net worth investors within the UBS client base, a network looking to the SDGs as a lodestar through which they can allocate their money for double bottom line results.

SEAF is also partnering with 17 Asset Management, a group looking to advance the SDG conversation with new methods to ensure that the use of the framework is meaningful. And in late February, SEAF led a consortium of impact-focused firms in a bid for a clean energy project, including KIT Royal Tropical Institute. KIT itself has fully embraced the SDGs, going so far as to nickname their historic building The SDG House (at right).

KIT isn’t the only organization visually showcasing the SDGs. SEAF CEO Bert van der Vaart, our peripatetic leader, reports seeing them at nearly every stop these days. “It’s amazing – exiting elevators in at a Chinese bank, I see the big, colorful blocks on every floor; in Kuwait, they’re splashed across the walls of a prominent firm. And in India, I have seen trash cans in office buildings decorated with the 17 brightly colored squares. It’s as if everyone has agreed, finally, that we’ve found a framework to focus efforts towards addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues.”

As noted in one of our last insight pieces, SEAF has committed to the SDGs, finding that they align with our current work as well as our work over the last thirty years. In analyzing our investments against the principles of the seventeen goals, we’ve found that SEAF has invested in companies that have addressed each one of the 17 goals.

Moving forward, each new SEAF investment will identify the specific goal it is targeting or likely to impact and the investment team will set impact targets that track the alignment and the degree to which the goals are being addressed. We are continuously looking for ways in which to fully align our work with what we see as the language which matters to our partners.  The SDGs do a great job of focusing development work on actually improving the lives of communities in underserved markets—which SEAF has been dedicated to since its establishment 30 years ago.

SEAF is committed to doing our part to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Will you join us on this mission? Post to our LinkedIn page with your thoughts on the SDGs and how your work is contributing towards their achievement.