Global Finance Industry Leaders Transforming Capitalism for a Sustainable Future

The ‘Force for Good’ Project on the Future of Capital in Support of the UN Secretary General’s Strategy and Roadmap for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched in 2015 to end poverty and set the world on a path of peace, prosperity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demand nothing short of a transformation of the financial, economic and political systems that govern our societies today to guarantee the human rights of all.

António Guterres Secretary-General, United Nations
on The Sustainable Development Goals 2020 and the importance of Strengthening Partnerships and SDG 17

The idea of the capital becoming a force for good is a powerful one. This report examines the ways and extent to which some of the world’s leading financial institutions are seeking to shift what and how they finance to create a better world. The report shows that the common ground among the industry leaders is becoming a bar for would be leaders to cross, that the leaders are pushing beyond the common ground and ‘doing good’ leads to superior performance. As a result, a definition is emerging of what it means to be a `force for good’.

This report has found that the leaders of the finance industry have made important foundational changes, are making even greater changes and the strongest and boldest among them are becoming leaders, not just leaders of finance.

The emerging trends, ideas and themes arising from this work point to profound changes in the system of capital and capitalism. They are indicative of a finance industry that, from the top of the industry, while continuing to run its current markets driven businesses, is also maturing and adapting to reinvent itself. While the initiatives to date, as bold and ambitious as they are, are at an early stage of the industry’s evolution, the industry has set in motion changes that that will change its self-conception. Given the world is in the throes of a disruptive series of challenges, there is much further to go in what will ultimately be a transformation to enable capital to play its essential role in the biggest changes in the world at large.

Of strategic importance is the idea that the experience of making a difference in society is one that teaches invaluable skills to an organization and emboldens it to develop its business in ways that previously seemed impossible. The journey itself is transformative ultimately creating an insurmountable gap between those that learn to change the world at large for good and those that choose a narrow definition of their purpose.