SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds

About the Standards

Businesses and investors are increasingly seeking opportunities to make a positive contribution towards sustainable development and achieving the SDGs by 2030 – and are looking for guidance to help translate that intent to action. The SDG Impact Standards have been designed to meet that need.

The SDG Impact Standards are a set of practices that organizations can apply to help build a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world. The Standards provide a common language and best-practice guidance for integrating impact management into business and investment practices and decision-making – with an eye towards positive and negative effects on people and the planet. They are grounded in existing high level principles and provide context for applying other tools and frameworks, including metrics, taxonomies and reporting frameworks. Everyone is invited to use the Standards; they are a voluntary and freely available public good.

In addition to the Standards for Private Equity Funds, SDG Impact is developing Standards for Bonds and Standards for Enterprises.

About the Standards for Private Equity Funds

These Standards are for private equity, debt and venture capital fund managers who want to make a positive contribution to sustainable development and achieving the SDGs through one or more of their funds.

The foundational elements of the Standards are:

About the Standards for Private Equity Funds

Standard 1 (Strategy): Embedding foundational elements into purpose and strategy

Standard 2 (Management Approach): Integrating foundational elements into operations and management approach

Standard 3 (Transparency): Disclosing how foundational elements are integrated into purpose, strategy, management approach and governance, and reporting on performance

Standard 4 (Governance): Reinforcing commitment to foundational elements through governance practices

Download the Standards

Download About the SDG Impact Standards

Download the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity version 1.0

Download the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity version 1.0 in Mandarin Chinese

Download the SDG Impact Self-Assessment Tool for Private Equity Fund

Download the Glossary

Download the FAQs

Download the response to the most recent consultation input

Download the mapping to the Operating Principles for Impact Management

Implementation Working Group

To support the implementation of the Standards, SDG Impact is designing a voluntary external assurance framework and eligibility criteria for the use of an SDG Impact Seal. Additionally, we are developing a compendium of guidance and resources to support users in adopting the Standards. To support the development of these resources, SDG Impact is working with a group of partners to provide input into these key aspects of the Standards infrastructure.

How the Standards work with other principles, tools and frameworks

The Standards are grounded in high level principles and provide context for integrating other tools and frameworks into decision-making.

How the Standards work with other principles

A mapping document illustrating how Operating Principles for Impact Management map to the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds can be found here.


1- Operating Principles for Impact Management, UNEP FI's Principles for Positive Impact Finance and Responsible Banking Principles, Principles for Responsible Investment, Social Value International's Social Value Principles, and GIIN Core Characteristics of Impact Investors.

2- Integrating UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, Ten Principles of UN Global Compact and Impact Management Project shared norms, and contributing positively to sustainable development and achieving the SDGs.

3- For instance, metrics, taxonomies, valuation models, benchmarking tools e.q. IRIS+, GRI, UNCTAD metrics, Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on the implementation of the SDGs, SDG Impact Market Intelligence Investor Maps, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Accord, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Capitals Coalition Natural and Social and Human Capitals Protocols, SVI Standards, Blab SDG Action Manager and UNEP FI Impact Analysis Tools.

4- For instance, Integrated reporting, SDG Disclosure Recommendations, GRI, SASB.

Public Consultation

The consultation process meets the process required for UNDP Principles for social and environmental standards. The SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds have undergone two rounds of public consultation. The first consultation period was between October and December of 2019 and the second was during the month of July 2020. We thank everyone who submitted feedback.

A public report documenting the feedback received during SDG Impact’s response to the second consultation (July 2020) can be found here.

Ways to use the Standards

Voluntary independent use

These Standards are provided to Funds as a benchmark for best practice and self-assessment. Funds can use them to align their internal processes, practices and decision making. Funds are encouraged to use the Standards as a gap analysis and self-assessment tool, and to fill gaps and improve practice over time.

Voluntary Assurance Framework and SDG Impact Seal

We are developing a voluntary external-assurance framework and SDG Impact Seal in tandem with making the Standards available as a voluntary self-assessment tool.

Complementary resources

UNDP is helping to make the SDG Impact Standards user-friendly by supplementing them with the following works-in-progress:

Funds are already beginning to apply the SDG Impact Standards. If you are one of them, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch:

Pilot Partners

Thank you to the following partners, who participated in an early pilot of the Standards!

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