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Looking back at the SDG masterclass on November 5

On November 5, WIFS partnered up with TOSCA to host an online masterclass on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During the masterclass, the founding partners of TOSCA Nicolette Loonen and Ulrike de Jong talked the around 30 participants through what the SDGs are and what complex environmental and societal issues they are trying to address. They discussed how the SDGs are also particularly relevant to the financial sector.

Firstly, they have informed the development of the EU's Green Deal and EU's Action Plan on Sustainable Finance, the latter of which will result in the integration of sustainability factors into EU financial legislation. Secondly, they can be used as a framework for financial institutions to shape their financial products and steer their investments towards sustainable means. That the SDGs indeed can provide for such a framework, was evidenced by Carola van Lamoen's presentation of Robeco's SDG assessment, which it applies to a large share of the companies in which it invests. This assessment analyzes in what way certain companies contribute, negatively or positively, to the different SDGs, and awards a positive or negative score to these companies on the basis of that analysis. Simultaneously, the SDGs provide a framework for the identification of key topics that Robeco engages on with its investee companies. All in all, the online masterclass gave a solid overview of what the SDGs are all about and what their practical applicability in the financial sector looks like. Hopefully, this has inspired the participants to the workshop to start thinking about what role the SDGs could play within their respective businesses and organizations. Some first feedback from one of the participants shows that this is indeed the case: 

Evelien Vlastuin: I found the SDG masterclass very interesting and it was time well spent. It has put things in a historical perspective for me, and similarly outlined trends and developments. Robeco's explanation was very helpful in getting a clear understanding of how to put the SDGs into practice.  

Vanessa Kohn: The workshop offered many insights, both to what the financial sector can do, as well as what you as an employee and a citizen can contribute to the SDGs. Very inspiring and shocking at the same time. 

Annette Baus: Inspiring introduction to the importance of the SDGs. 

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