Through its 2030, Agenda, the United Nations specified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for sustainable social, economic and environmental development of all countries of the world.

“Leaving no one behind” is the motto under which the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals of the year 2000 which they are intended to supplement and complete. The 17 SDGs and their 169 targets consider three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and ecologic. However, achievement of the SDGs by 2030 as hoped still requires much work. Even before the spread of the coronavirus, the world community was at risk of not meeting these aims. This is why the United Nations has called the remaining time the “decade of action.” The pandemic and its economic impact have further worsened the situation. Redistributing private capital (estimated global volume: USD 317 trillion) to sustainable economic sectors and activities that contribute to these Sustainable Development Goals is now more important than ever!

With our investments in the area of financial inclusion (microfinance and SME financing), we contribute to the achievement of five of the 17 SDGs.


SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Despite all the progress made in the fight against poverty, 8.2 percent of the world's population still lived below the international poverty line of 1.90 US dollars a day in 2019. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank estimates that between 70 and 100 million people will slide into this extreme poverty. As the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, reports, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer most from the economic consequences of the crisis - "through the loss of work and illness, through overburdened health systems and the lack of social safety nets". Microcredit and other financial financial services are particularly important in this situation. Because they promote e.g. activities to generate income or support less affluent people to overcome financial difficulties. More than half of our loan portfolio was spent in the services as well as retail and commercial sectors last year.

Impact Report 2020 (page 25)

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

In numerous countries women are disadvantaged legally, socially and economically compared to men. This has a negative effect on their self-determination in many areas of life, such as family planning or the exercise of income-generating activities. The granting of small loans to women in emerging and developing countries helps to improve the economic situation and status of these women and thus enables them to have more self-determination in other areas as well. In 2019, a little more than 50 percent of the borrowers in our loan portfolio were women. This proportion can also be determined for previous years.

Impact Report 2020 (page 25)

SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

According to estimates by the World Bank, around 3.3 million additional jobs will have to be created in the emerging and developing countries by the year 2030 just to keep up with population growth. The number is likely to be even larger as the value is based on assumptions made prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Small companies play a special role here, creating 9 out of 10 jobs worldwide. However, especially in the area of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, the emerging and developing countries have a funding gap of 5.2 trillion US dollars (718.8 billion for micro-enterprises and 4.5 trillion for SMEs).1 The growth of such companies Promoting it by providing loans and other financial services is therefore an indispensable component in achieving the eighth sustainability goal.

 1International Finance Corporation (2017), MSME Finance Gap. Assessment of the Shortfalls and Opportunities in Financing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Emerging Markets

SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

This sustainable development goal focuses on the manufacturing industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In emerging and developing countries, they often lack access to affordable loans. This deprives them of the capital for their development and the creation of jobs, to which we grant loans, not only passing them on to micro-borrowers, but also to companies that have higher financial needs. We support this with a special fund that is tailored to SMEs and their needs.

More information on the fund can be found here (in German).

SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Before the Corona pandemic, inequality had been trending downwards worldwide. The so-called Gini coefficient had decreased in 38 out of 84 countries worldwide between 2010 and 2017. The Gini coefficient shows how equally or unequally wealth and income are distributed in a region or country. The most affected groups in the pandemic are the vulnerable ones, such as the elderly, children, women and migrants. To reduce inequality between and within countries, we particularly refinance financial institutions in countries that are economically less strong. In 2020, more than half of our loan portfolio was invested in countries which are in the lower-middle to lower income segment.

Impact Report 2020 (page 18)

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