Credits @UNICEF/2019/Elyor Nematov
Published on February 12, 2021

Family Offices and the SDGs

In the latest podcast from a series “A Time to Act,” Joint SDG Fund Head of Secretariat Lisa Kurbiel interviewed guests, Sergio A. Fernández de Córdova, Chairman of the PVBLIC Foundation, and Robert Lawrence Skinner, Executive Director of the UN Office for Partnerships. In this episode, they discussed the intrinsic motivations of legacy, the impact of family offices, and their unique flexibility in making significant investments without return demands.

According to the most recent UBS Global Family Office Report, a quarter of family offices are engaged in impact investing. Over a third expect to increase their impact allocation to as much as 24% over the next five years, while 30% will allocate 25% or more. The Joint SDG Fund aims to bring the UN system into the impact investment space, connecting with investors, funds and philanthropists to mobilize financing to accelerate the SDGs. Family offices have a special opportunity to experiment with investments, and this discussion explores why building a relationship with these investment firms has the potential for profound growth and change.

When asked about the impact that Family offices can have on the sustainable development goals, Mr. Fernández de Córdova notes that, “[w]hen you look at the family office base, they’re built on purpose – the purpose is the family. So, when you think about, how could they not be investing in impact and sustainable future? … It is something that brings a legacy and brings a purpose.” The conversation furthers to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic – specifically, the expected “evolution” in investors to be focused on “how their money is making the world a better place.”

“Educate, Engage, and Activate.”

Impact investing and micro-investing in organizations like the Joint SDG Fund can move the world philanthropically and support the most vulnerable communities. Teaching families about the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals can encourage impact investment, especially for those concerned about the multi-generational impact. The podcast discusses that often Family offices do not know about what the Joint SDG Fund is doing and their widespread presence across the globe. The Fund has Resident Coordinators serving in over thirty-five countries with a lifelong commitment to helping vulnerable populations and facilitating growth in those areas. But many Family offices do not know that these things exist. Thus, the podcast encourages Family offices to become part of the conversation with the Joint SDG Fund to educate themselves on how their money can make an impact both now and generationally in areas across the world.  

“If we look at what happened in one year to the world, we have no way to fathom what could happen in the next decade. . . If anything is going to push this to happen, it is COVID-19. It is the fact that the whole world stopped and is starting to reboot.”

The podcast concludes with the discussion that this pandemic has taught the world that, “we need each other and there should be no excuses to take action.” 

Listen to Family Offices and the SDGs Podcast to learn more!