Sustainable investing

Sustainable investing considers social and environmental performance when making decisions. This approach has gained momentum across the investment ecosystem, and the Sustainable Development Goals provide a useful framework for quantifying the development impact of investments.

Social Finance collaborates with stakeholders across the investment ecosystem. Our objective is to reorient capital towards achieving decent work and economic inclusion, as envisioned by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8. In our collaborations, we shape standards and promote good practices that facilitate the integration of decent work into investment strategies. We conduct research and build the capacity of investors for better social and environmental risk and impact management. As such, we work at three levels of the investment ecosystem:


We provide advisory, capacity building and technical assistance to investors as well as investee companies. Examples of this work include: our role as Sustainability Advisor to the impact investment fund AATIF to measure and manage the social impact of agricultural investments; and our support in developing a sustainability management system for the Common Fund for Commodities, a UN-backed intergovernmental financial institution. We also explore innovative finance mechanisms, for example by conducting a feasibility study on an impact bond to reduce child labour in the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire, as part of the ACCEL AFRICA Programme.

Industry and support organizations

To increase our impact, we take the lessons learned from our work with investors and actively share it with the broader investment community.  Our engagement and contributions to industry organizations like the Global Impact Investing Network (developing Quality Jobs impact investing strategies) and the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network helps to improve industry practices related to sustainability in investments, particularly on decent work. By partnering with regional development finance associations, we conducted studies on the social dimensions of development finance in Africa and Asia and the Pacific.

Policy and enabling environment

An enabling environment – rewarding impactful investments and preventing negative impacts and greenwashing – is critical to achieve the SDGs. With this objective in mind, we work at the policy and enabling environment level, including with the UN system. For example, we contribute to the UN Joint SDG Fund by assessing SDG Financing proposals. We also build capacity within the ILO, its constituents and the broader UN-system through courses, webinars and events. A central area of work for our constituents and the financial sector is Just Transition Finance, focusing on financing that addresses the climate crisis and fosters job-rich growth that leaves no one behind. Furthermore, Social Finance regularly contributes to the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group, having recently submitted input papers on just transition finance and on social impact investing.