Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), UBS Optimus Foundation, Credit Suisse Foundation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), announced the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Finance Initiative, with a goal to mobilize up to one billion Swiss francs in private capital to advance measurable impact in developing countries.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refer to the 17 categories of goals adopted as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, with the aim to protect the planet and improve the quality of life globally. SDG targets include ending poverty and hunger, improving education, and protecting the environment.

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According to SECO, increased private sector investment will be essential to meet the estimates $2.5 trillion funding gap to meet the SDGs, and using public and philanthropic funds to mobilize private investments can be an effective way to mobilize capital. The SDG Impact Finance Initiative aims to raise 100 million francs in funding by 2030 from public and philanthropic actors. These funds will be used to unlock up to 1 billion francs in additional private capital towards the SDGs in developing countries.

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, SECO Director, said:

“It is all about collaboration and joining forces between public, private and philanthropic actors to mobilize more finance for the SDGs in developing countries. The 19.5 million Swiss francs approved by President Guy Parmelin underscore SECO’s commitment.”

The initiative has three objectives, including to support innovative financial solutions for new impact investing tools through grand and seed funding, to scale impact investing solutions by mobilizing more private capital and strengthening underlying portfolio companies, and to contribute to improved framework conditions for impact investing in Switzerland and promote impact management practices. For this purpose, the initiative will cooperate with the association Swiss Sustainable Finance and the State Secretariat for International Finance.

Ralph Hamers, UBS Group CEO, said:

“It is critical to mobilize capital in all forms to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges. As a founding member of this important initiative, UBS Optimus Foundation is pleased to contribute 5 million Swiss francs plus its long-standing expertise in innovative impact investing and public-private partnerships to create measurable, sustainable change on a global scale.”

Thomas Gottstein, CEO Credit Suisse Group, added:

“Credit Suisse sees philanthropic capital playing an important role in unlocking the innovation and collaboration needed to overcome the significant funding gap to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly for SDGs and countries that have historically been more challenging to finance. I am delighted that our Foundation could play a pivotal role in supporting this initiative from its inception.”