This report aims to help commercially driven partnerships, grant funders and investors more effectively drive transformative Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) action by highlighting new approaches to finance. It is a follow-on publication to A Time for Transformative Partnerships, a World Resources Institute (WRI) report that identified the key success factors of transformative partnerships.

As the world confronts challenges like urban growth, reliance on fossil fuels, water scarcity and more, a timely new report from WRI examines how innovative approaches to investing can support partnerships and the transition to a more sustainable economy. The report identifies gaps in financing and key recommendations intended to help achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals through commercially-driven partnerships. While there has been immense growth in the number of multi-stakeholder partnerships that are commercially-focused, this report focuses on how to ensure partnerships with real transformation potential are long-lasting and well-funded to make a positive impact. It outlines four key recommendations for partnerships and funders to overcome these barriers and unlock environmental, social and financial rewards.

Main Finding

Partnerships struggle to get appropriate investment because grant funders and investors prioritize matters—such as political capital, financial returns, reputation, risk and bureaucracy—over achieving and demonstrating impact.

The four recommendations for funders and partnerships:

  • Grant funders and investors should adopt approaches to financing that stretch beyond their comfort level.
  • Grant funders and investors should be more open about how they make investment decisions and be more flexible with their funding requirements.
  • Investors should be more transparent and increase their accountability to better optimize impact.
  • Partnerships should focus on building a high-quality funder and incubation network.

Executive Summary

Mobilizing finance and multistakeholder partnerships are key priorities for the global community to accelerate the SDGs. Yet, many partnerships are not able to reach their ambitions because they cannot access early-stage financing. This report aims to help partnerships and their funders effectively manage and mobilize finance to achieve SDG impact by: exploring partnership funding challenges and lessons learned; examining innovative funding approaches; and providing tangible recommendations to partnerships and funders on how to drive SDG impact more effectively.

Read the full executive summary


For more insight into the report, watch the launch webinar in English or French.


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