Over the past year, we learned the consequences of being unprepared.
Our global health systems were overwhelmed by a foreseeable pandemic. Extreme weather bested our infrastructure, flooded our communities and destroyed our ecology. Economic volatility challenged small businesses, leaving workers unemployed and families hungry. Children, particularly the most vulnerable, fell behind in their education. Store shelves remained empty as supply chains lacked resilient systems. We were not prepared for what was to come. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be moving forward.
Around the world, we must commit to learning from these tragic lessons in an effort not to let history repeat itself. How? By building sustainability, resiliency and redundancy into all that we do. Building back better means building back better prepared.
This is a challenge world leaders are facing head on: whether it be Europe’s Green Deal or China’s commitment to decarbonisation or US efforts for greener and more robust infrastructure and supply chains. They are not alone. Companies are joining the charge by committing to carbon net zero futures, upskilling workers and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. Investors are also joining forces to inject the capital and resources needed to help solve for these issues at a global scale.
“In our view, there are growing opportunities to perform well as investors by investing in companies that directly address these SDGs – companies dedicated to workforce development and lifelong learning, climate action, sustainable living, and inclusive growth, to name a few”
Both business and society have an integral role to play – a role clearly outlined by the United Nations in their Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs were designed to mobilise governments, businesses, citizens, technologists and investors to collectively address the most urgent and emerging threats to our interconnected world – threats like those we faced over the past year.
As impact investors, we have aligned ourselves with these SDGs, which we believe provide a clear roadmap to a more sustainable and prepared future. In our view, there are growing opportunities to perform well as investors by investing in companies that directly address these SDGs – companies dedicated to workforce development and lifelong learning, climate action, sustainable living and inclusive growth, to name a few.
Within our portfolio, examples range from CMC Machinery, a premium provider of innovative sustainable packaging, to GreenCollar, a natural resource project development and environmental markets platform, to Axius Water, a water quality solutions platform we created to address pressing water quality challenges across the globe. We have also invested heavily in solutions to the future of work, including MasterD, the leading vocational training business in Spain, and Burning Glass, a major labour market analytics provider analysing supply and demand in the job market to inform hiring patterns, skills development, and progress on diversity, equity and inclusion.
We are focused on today’s most pressing issues as identified by the UN. By investing in companies whose core product or service contributes a locally relevant solution, and by growing these companies, and others, we contribute progress.
Our aim is to scale our efforts and work alongside our counterparts across the public and private sectors to together build resiliency back into the fabric of our society. We are all well aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Let’s prepare for them.
Robert Antablin and Ken Mehlman are co-heads of KKR Global Impact