SDG Impact Standards for Bonds

The second draft of the SDG Impact Standards for Bonds is available for public consultation until December 15th, 2020. Click here to download the Standards and guiding consultation questions.

About the Public Consultation

Businesses and investors are increasingly seeking opportunities to make positive contributions towards sustainable development and achieving the SDGs by 2030 – and are looking for guidance to help translate their 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. Grounded in existing high-level principles, the Standards 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 Bonds, SDG Impact is developing Standards for Enterprises and Standards for Private Equity Funds.

About the Standards for Bonds

The Standards are for Issuers who want to contribute positively to sustainable development and achieving the SDGs through issuing bonds related to achieving SDG and/or other sustainable development outcomes. The Standards are designed to align Issuers’ SDG Bond Programs with their broader sustainability strategies and the SDG commitments of the Issuer and/or entity utilizing the capital, as appropriate.

The Standards focus on contributing to and achieving sustainable development outcomes, and envisage linking the terms of the SDG Bond Program to achieving those outcomes. These Standards focus on whether the Issuer’s practices support decision making and activities that lead to improvement in, and optimize, SDG and/or other sustainable development outcomes. This includes whether the bond proceeds are:

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

Public Consultation

SDG Impact’s consultation process meets the UNDP Principles for social and environmental standards. The SDG Impact Standards for Bonds will undergo two rounds of public consultation. The first public consultation period was from April – July 2020. A public report documenting the feedback received during the first consultation and SDG Impact’s response, can be found here. This second consultation period is open from Nov 13th until December 15th, 2020.

SDG Impact’s engagement plan seeks feedback from a broad range of Stakeholders, including the investment and business community, governments, civil service organizations, organizations expert in human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, other United Nations bodies and initiatives, and relevant industry groups. Our approach is to engage with Stakeholders early and provide draft Standards for people to react to, work with and relate to their work and goals.

Organizations and individuals are encouraged to provide feedback via the guiding questions. Feedback responses will be made publicly available unless marked confidential.

We appreciate your participation in the consultation process. Please send all feedback or questions to:

Download the Standards

Download Draft SDG Impact Standards for Bonds

Download Consultation Guiding Questions

Download the Glossary

Download the FAQs

Download the response to the most recent consultation input

Download the mapping to the UNGC CFO Principles

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


1- Including United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) convened Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Taskforce for the SDGs CFO Principles on Integrated SDG Investments and Finance, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative's (UNEP FI) Principles for Positive Impact Finance Responsible Banking Principles, Social Value International's (SVI) Social Value Principles, the Global Impact Investing Network's (GIIN) Core Characteristics of Impact Investing. International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Operating Principles for Impact Management, and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

2- Integrating UN Guidance Principles for Business and Human Rights, Ten Principles of UN Global Compact and Impact Management Project (IMP) shared norms, and the SDGs.

3- For instance, metrics, taxonomies, valuation models, benchmarking tools e.g. IRIS+, GRI, UNCTAD metrics, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Capitals Coalition Natural and Social and Human Capitals Protocols, SVI Standards, Blab SDG Action Manager and UNEPFI Impact Analysis Tool, UNGC SDG Ambition Guide, Integration Guide and Tear Sheets.

4- For instance, SDG Disclosure Recommendations. Integrated reporting, Taskforce Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting standards, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) reporting standards.

A mapping document illustrating how UNGC CFO Principles map to the SDG Impact Standards for Bonds (and Enterprises) can be found here.

Ways to use the Standards

Voluntary independent use

These Standards are provided to Issuers as a benchmark for best practice and self-assessment. Issuers can use them to align their internal processes, practices and decision making.

Issuers are encouraged to use the Standards in their entirety as a gap analysis and self-assessment tool, and to fill gaps and improve practice over time.

Voluntary Assurance Framework and SDG Impact Seal

An external assurance framework and SDG Impact Seal are being developed in tandem with making the Standards available as a voluntary, self-assessment guide.

Complementary resources

UNDP is supporting these SDG Impact Standards with: