Will Innovation Investing Help Achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

May 12, 2021
3 min read
Will Innovation Investing Help Achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
By: Brett Winton

In 2015, the UN General Assembly formulated and committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a concerted effort to end poverty, protect the planet, sustain economic growth, and lay the infrastructure for peace and prosperity by 2030. ARK has organized the 17 goals into four broad-based sustainable ambitions: economic convergence, healthy economic growth, environmental action, and infrastructure for the future, as shown below.

ARK Sustainable Impact Investing UN SDGs

Source: ARK Investment Management LLC, 2021, Data sourced from the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Six years later, the UN no longer expects to reach those goals by 2030. According to Francesca Perucci, the UN Chief of the Statistical Services Branch, “Almost all areas where you see progress, if you look at the rate, or the pace of progress, it is never sufficient to meet the targets.” This statement may be true, but it overlooks the role that disruptive innovation could play in changing the pace of progress.

ARK believes that achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals is possible. Innovation could be the key.

According to ARK, five innovation platforms are evolving simultaneously in the global economy, marking an important moment in history. We believe that historians will deem this era as one of unprecedented technological foment. They will identify robotics, energy storage, DNA sequencing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology as transformative innovation platforms that entered critical inflection points during this decade. While the commercial impact of their productivity boosts could be profound, the five platforms also are likely to bend the curve for each of the UN SDGs, increasing the probability of many successes by 2030.

To learn more, we invite you to download our white paper: Impact Investing: Is Innovation the Key to Accelerating Progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?

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