M&G’s SDG Reckoning report: progress has stalled towards delivering on UN SDGs

by | Oct 19, 2022

M&G Investments finds that progress towards achieving the United Nation (UN)’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has all but stalled in the past 12 months, with 15 of the goals seeing no improvement. This leaves the world on track to deliver only 7 of the 17 SDGs by the 2030 target set by the UN.

The report assesses the global, year-on-year progress towards achieving the UN’s 17 SDGs and provides insights on how private sector investment can participate in delivering progress towards the UN SDGs.

The main findings from the report include:

  • No progress for the majority of SDGs: on an annual basis, 13 of the 17 goals failed to move, with two decelerating and two accelerating.
  • Marginal improvements for two SDGs: Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG 3) improved due to the effective development of vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic and other improvements in the area of health and wellbeing, while Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9) benefited from continued improvement in digital access globally.
  • Affordable and Clean Energy in reverse: SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy, decelerated as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted the global energy market, derailing progress and generating the biggest surge of energy prices since the 1970s.
  • Inequalities widened: SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities, was exacerbated by Covid-19, while the cost-of-living crisis will have a disproportionate impact on developing economies – with the potential to cause a ripple effect across many of the SDGs.


Lead author of the report, Ben Constable-Maxwell, who is Head of Impact Investing at M&G, says:

“Our third annual SDG Reckoning makes for depressing reading, with the majority of SDGs showing little sign of progress or falling even further behind the 2030 targets. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis and the intensifying cost of living crisis are having a significant impact on the ability of wealthier countries to maintain or increase capital to tackle these global challenges.

“But now is not the time for defeatism. Given deep strains on public finances, private sector investment is more imperative than ever to help deliver global progress towards the goals. Investors have a crucial role to play in financing sustainable and impactful investment opportunities, which can prove profitable as well as societally beneficial.

“As we look ahead to the COP 27 Conference in November, it is an opportunity for political leaders and the private sector to reflect on the continued need for collaboration to help tackle the most pressing issues of our generation.”

The chart below outlines the score for each of the 17 UN SDGs, as well as the progress made towards achieving each goal.

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