UN Development Programme and Duke University launch online course to foster private investments towards the Global Goals

September 14, 2021

More and more businesses and investors are looking for straightforward ways to make a positive difference, including to help fill the now estimated $4.2 trillion annual financing gap needed to reach the SDGs.

UNDP Palestine

New York, 14 September 2021 - In partnership with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced the launch of a new online training on “Impact Measurement and Management for the SDGs,” available free on the Coursera platform at: https://coursera.org/learn/impact-for-sdgs.

The course teaches investors and enterprises how to integrate impact management practices – in line with the UNDP SDG Impact Standards - into their decision making, and how to operate more sustainably and increase their contributions towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in future.

“This new course will help participants to gain access to vital knowledge in this rapidly emerging field of impact investment, helping them to better measure the socio-economic and environmental impact of the private sector on people and planet,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “In doing so, the course is also fostering a much-needed cultural shift that will feed into global efforts that are needed to shift trillions of dollars towards the Global Goals.”

Everyday, more and more businesses and investors are looking for straightforward ways to make a positive difference, including to help fill the now estimated $4.2 trillion annual financing gap needed to reach the SDGs. Getting better at measuring and managing impacts on people and planet and integrating impact management into decision-making – in line with the SDG Impact Standards – will help investors and enterprises realize their ambitions.

The Center of the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University and UNDP SDG Impact team led the design and production of the online training program, which is poised to help thousands of businesses and investors master fundamental steps towards measuring, managing, and improving their social, environmental, and economic impacts on people and the planet.

“Through this course, anyone can learn to align their organizational practices with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and improve them over time,” said Cathy Clark, Faculty Director at Duke’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship and CASE’s Initiative on Impact Investing, who is lead author of the new course. “Until now, there has been a lack of clear guidance on how enterprises and investors can translate their intent to action and make sense of the increasing array of frameworks, tools and resources. We partnered with UNDP to make it easy. Now, both enterprises and investors can log in and learn, whether they are new to this or have been doing it for decades, how to continuously manage and enhance their impact on sustainable, equitable development in ways that their stakeholders can trust.”

“Operating sustainably and contributing positively to the SDGs isn’t only good for people and the planet – it increasingly makes good business and investment sense – and professionals with these skills are increasingly in demand” said Fabienne Michaux, Director SDG Impact at UNDP. “Integrating impact management into organizational processes and decision making can help enterprises and investors move from SDG alignment to SDG action, from measuring impact to managing impact, and from thinking about the SDGs and impact as an add-on to what business gets done to how all business gets done. This online training, which consolidates leading impact management thinking and practices into a cutting-edge guide based on short videos and lessons with concrete practice examples, will help private sector players world-wide start, or accelerate, their transition towards a more sustainable and impactful future. Alongside the SDG Impact Standards, the training also helps to connect actors across the ecosystem through a shared language and approach, making it easier for them to collaborate towards shared or blended-finance solutions to achieve the SDGs.”

Cliff Prior, CEO of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, which brings together leaders from finance, business, and philanthropy through member coalitions in 33 countries to solve some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, added: “Impact measurement and management is rapidly heading towards becoming the new norm, as so many of the future investment opportunities offer positive impact. There is no doubt that practitioners around the globe will benefit from a common framework for how they can improve their impact management practices. Having this course as the firm base, with all the rigor and discipline that it includes, will undoubtedly help improve impact on sustainable development across the globe.”

According to Bill Boulding, the Dean of the Fuqua School of Business, “It is fantastic to be able to produce an online course with the benefit of such significant support and collaboration from UNDP. Duke is delighted to have partnered with the UNDP to create a cost-effective way for organizations to train their staffs, level-set their new hires, and increase their own effectiveness at addressing the UN SDGs.  We are excited about this effort as it fits with our goal of helping develop practices that enable businesses to work toward the common good.”

About UNDP

UNDP works in more than 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and exclusion, and build resilience so countries can sustain progress. As the UN’s development agency, UNDP plays a critical role in helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Investors, private sector actors, Development Financial Institutions/International Financial Institutions, and other stakeholders who are interested to provide insights are encouraged to reach out to sdginvestorplatform@undp.org

About SDG Impact

SDG Impact is a ground-breaking UNDP initiative, catalyzing investment to achieve the SDGs by 2030 through three pillars of interrelated work: SDG Impact Management: including the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds, Bond Issuers and Enterprises, an assurance framework and SDG Impact Seal, and impact management education; SDG Impact Intelligence: comprising SDG investor maps of investable opportunity areas and business models via a searchable desktop platform – www.sdginvestorplatform.com; and SDG Impact Facilitation: focusing on investor and policy dialogues drawing on UNDP’s presence in over 170 countries, deep sustainable development expertise and relationships with governments and other influencers). 

About Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business enrolls more than 2,000 students a year across ten degree programs and eleven non-degree programs, designed to help working professionals as well as full-time students push their limits and try new things. While Fuqua’s campus is based in North America, it is known for providing opportunities for learning and engagement around the world. The school has long-standing relationships with firms in key industries, including health care, financial services, consulting, technology, consumer goods, energy and the environment, and media, as well as a focus in the areas of entrepreneurship and social impact.