2021 was a tough year…. Covid yet again, economic damage, geopolitical tension, geopolitical strains, supply chains drying up, fund flows to emerging economies damaged: just name it. I know it has hurt many of you, many of our community, most of all in countries with low incomes.
Yet still, even in these most troubled of times, leaders in many countries, have stepped forward to pursue the goal of better lives, and a better planet. And from ourselves in the GSG, 2021 saw Nigeria joining as a National Advisory Board, programmes launched in Africa and Latin America, extraordinary outcomes across all the National Advisory Boards, an amazing team dynamic of global leaders achieving more than ever, our best-rated Summit, and the outstanding achievement of the G7 UK Impact Task Force.
The Taskforce, led by Nick Hurd, Doug Peterson and Elizabeth Corley, was supported and sustained by the GSG and the Impact Investing Institute. With powerful recommendations, it addresses both the future system of finance with harmonization of standards, regulatory impact reporting, and the future of value accounting; and also the tools and instruments that could shift the blockages in fund flows to SMEs and emerging economies, all encapsulated in a ‘just transition’ approach for both social and environmental benefit.
So where next for the GSG in 2022?
We start with a new three year strategy, to deliver a stronger global impact ecosystem that reflects the priorities for impact within each country, leading to positive outcomes for all people and the planet. We aim to achieve this by expanding the network of countries with National Advisory Boards for impact, to represent two in every three people in the world and at least 50% of the world’s people in poverty. And by supporting the National Advisory Boards, developing and sharing knowledge, influencing the global movement for impact, and connecting and convening the key stakeholders involved.
We have already started, building up the team and plans. Now we will deliver in earnest:
- engaging the impact movement through our Global Leaders Meeting, events for knowledge sharing and mutual support across countries and partners
- developing the next wave of countries creating National Advisory Boards for impact, with new joiners expected to be welcomed from South East Asia, Africa and Europe
- vital policy interventions for the NAB community – to achieve mobilisation of capital in emerging markets, especially to the SMEs, and using impact tools to help refugees and people living in informal settlements
- and working on the powerful recommendations of the Impact Task Force: how they can be applied in each country, and taking them through to key governments, policy makers and financial services, with specific work on impact transparency, harmonization of standards, and value reporting
This is the GSG working on the big changes in the financial system, on the opportunities in each country, and how we can engage with the priorities of the people who need all this most. It’s working with partners, which we believe is crucial to achieve the global goals and net zero: the challenges are too big for any of us individually, but working together we can win through.
I was talking to a NAB colleague from Ghana recently, about how these elements come together. She was saying that Ghana desperately needs the kind of capital that can help SME enterprises and impact entrepreneurs. But at the same time, the climate catastrophe is building fast. Ghana doesn’t have a big carbon footprint – the global north has created that problem. And unless the global north changes its ways, Ghana will flood in its south and turn to desert in its north.
The big system change, the specific issues in each country, the collaboration and shared support across the world: that’s how the GSG works. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to the movement in 2021 and will push further in 2022. Thank you for all you are achieving, for better lives, and for our shared planet.