A New Source of Funding to Help Address the UN SDGS

Theresa Schieber • 15 September 2020

With less than 10 years left to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the world is still far from accomplishing this ambitious plan to “reduce poverty, rescue the planet, and build a peaceful world.” While many have raised the need to usher a “Decade of Action,” the advent of the Covid-19 global health pandemic and its attendant economic and societal challenges have stalled progress on the Global Goals – which have become both harder and ever more essential. To achieve the SDGs and activate this decade of action, the UN Secretary-General has issued a broad challenge to:


  • Mobilize everyone, everywhere
  • Demand urgency and ambition
  • Supercharge ideas and solutions


While there is no lack of innovative ideas to address society’s greatest needs, governments, businesses, and citizens have largely remained stuck in traditional ways of thinking about how to finance the environmental and social change we must achieve. Enter Social Value Economics.


Social Value Economics, developed by Givewith’s Founder and CEO Paul Polizzotto, meets the challenge issued by the Secretary-General – it can mobilize companies everywhere to move with urgency and ambition and supercharge a solution that will provide significant new financial resources to advance the Global Goals while also creating new value that benefits companies and communities.


Mobilize everyone, everywhere. It has been widely accepted that it will require an estimated $5-7 trillion annually to accomplish the SDGs by 2030. Even with every traditional source of funding considered, research by Yale University shows that there is an annual funding gap of roughly $1-3 trillion to meet the Global Goals.


While there are few pools of capital that are large enough to address this multi-trillion-dollar gap, there is a significant opportunity for businesses to step in and fill the gap by leveraging their transactions with other businesses. In fact, global business transactions, estimated at $96 trillion annually by Yale, hold enormous potential to generate the necessary funding to support our global environmental and social needs.


By tapping into global business transactions, Social Value Economics creates the ideal pathway for all buyers and all sellers everywhere to fund social impacts anywhere, simply by doing what they already do every day.


Demand urgency and ambition. At Givewith, we bring Social Value Economics to life by helping companies integrate social impact into every business to business transaction. Sales teams can offer social impact as a sales incentive as part of their proposals or renewals, and procurement teams can embed social impact directly into their sourcing process, all while benefiting both the buyer and seller.


Research by Boston Consulting Group has shown that Social Value Economics, and specifically, social impact applied as a sales incentive through Givewith is 13x more effective than other traditional sales incentives. This means businesses can effectively differentiate themselves in the marketplace and deliver a sustainable way to give back that both helps advance core business objectives and critical social causes.


If companies and governments apply Givewith and Social Value Economics to just 2% of all global business transactions, we could generate nearly $2 trillion in new funding annually for environmental and social programs. Think of what we could do if we were even more ambitious.


Supercharge ideas and solutions. While it’s well established that companies can leverage social impact to improve their brand reputation and strengthen relationships with consumers, adding social impact into sales or procurement can improve key performance indicators across the organization drive growth in sales, profits, and stock price.


Givewith makes it easy for companies to report their impact directly to internal and external stakeholders, and measure how it has influenced key performance indicators. In fact, research by Boston Consulting Group shows that using this model to add social impact into business transactions can increase sales up to 7%, increase employee engagement and retention up to 7%, boost net promoter scores (NPS) by up to 10 points, and positively influence environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings. Social Value Economics, delivered by Givewith, transforms the act of giving back into a sustainable business strategy for the future, by ensuring additional business value is created across a company.


To achieve the Decade of Action by 2030, we must address the prevailing trillion-dollar funding gap that stalls the world’s progress on these critical global goals. While companies are already identifying ways to help take on the UN SDGs, there’s a critical opportunity to scale this funding by tapping into B2B and B2G transactions -- not only to help solve society’s most pressing problems, but to ensure the long-term vitality of their business, too.