UM joins UNDP partnership

On Friday 22 September, Maastricht University signed a new partnership with the United Nations Social Impact Fund (UNSIF) and nine leading universities worldwide to join the UNSIF Research Council. UNSIF is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The aim of the partnership is to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 through joint research on sustainable development investments. The signing took place on the side-lines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York, and was attended by Research Council member Prof. Harry Hummels from UM’s School of Business and Economics.

The investment sector focusing on the implementation of the SDGs has been growing rapidly. The two largest pension funds in the Netherlands, ABP and PFZW, have already committed to invest the aggregate amount of some 80 billion Euros in Sustainable Development Investments by 2020. As the sector grows, one of its challenges is measuring impact to which the research council wants to contribute. Also, the partnership aims at developing and disseminating research that will be instrumental to the growth of capital flowing to the SDGs.

The UNSIF Research Council, that leads the partnership, is bringing together prominent business schools in the US, Europe and Asia, to develop the methodology and to set down yardsticks that measure the development impact. The Council will undertake research to improve the analytical frameworks, evidence, and policy environment that encourage and guide commercial capital flows in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Through complementary cycles of research-testing-certification-policy cycles, the ultimate goal of the Research Council is to produce a framework that supports governments, businesses and institutional investors in making informed investment decisions, define new policy options for sustainable development investing and incentivise capital markets to prioritize SDG-aligned investment practices.

“The Finance Department of Maastricht University’ School of Business and Economics is uniquely positioned to play a prominent role in the Research Council”, Harry Hummels remarks. “We have excellent knowledge, experience and networks to support the work of UNSIF. Moreover, our research focus complements that of the other universities.”

The business schools and academic institutions that, together with UM’s School of Business and Economics, have committed themselves to this initiative are: Sprott School of Business, Carleton University; China Europe International Business School; National University of Singapore Business School; Saïd Business School, Oxford University;  School of Economics, Tsinghua University; Bertha Centre for Social Innovation, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town; The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Zurich.

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