Document Type

Other

Date of this Version

10-15-2021

Advisor

Eileen Doherty-Sil

Abstract

In June 2021, a group of researchers from ESG analytics firm Impact Cubed published research that analyzed country level progress in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals form the international standard on 21st century development, advancing economic, social, environmental, and democratic values. Utilizing a pathway analysis to track a country's trajectory in achieving the goals, this groundbreaking study found that Lithuania has the strongest pathway towards Sustainable Development in the world.

To understand both what has driven this progress and what can be done to further capitalize on their success, field research was conducted in Lithuania with first-hand accounts from Lithuanian leaders. Representatives from government ministries, impact-oriented businesses, non-governmental organizations, and national publications all contributed to these findings.

DRIVERS OF PROGRESS

8 key drivers are identified as contributing to Lithuania’s position as a leader in SDG progress. These insights can be broken down into 3 main categories: Geographical Position, Political Situation, and Progressive Business Ecosystem

Geographical Position

  1. Resource Rich - Lithuanian large forests and fresh water sources provide climate benefits and minimize the risk of over exploitation
  2. Nordic Influence - Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark are bringing influence and investment that are shaping Lithuanian practices in their image
  3. Energy Independence from Russia - New connection to European power grids have made Lithuanian energy more sustainable and affordable

Political Situation

  1. European Union Support-Green New Deal and Sustainability Reporting from the EU is rapidly affecting how politicians and businesses view the climate crisis
  2. Domestic Political Support - Policies targeting various SDGs such as plastic waste, alcoholism, and forest coverage have proved to be effective in developing a more progressive society

Progressive Business Ecosystem

  1. Emergence of Corporate Sustainability-Increased consumer demand for impact-oriented products is shifting companies towards maximizing social impact as well as profit
  2. Growing Entrepreneurial Hub - Favorable business regulation is causing foreign nationals to return home and attracting top talent to develop new ideas
  3. Rise of Impact Financing-Success of Green Bonds is raising significant capital for green energy and infrastructure

RECOMMENDATIONS

To capitalize on the promising progress achieved to date, 3 primary recommendations emerge:

  1. Move Sustainable Development to the Prime Minister’s Office - Current ownership of the SDGs within the Ministry of Environment is unable to tackle the full scope of the SDGs, which run across ministries
  2. Revitalize the SDG Expert Network - Engagement from the Expert Network is crucial to build partnerships and encourage lawmakers to pursue policies that achieve the SDGs
  3. Develop Institute of Sustainable Finance - Creation of an Institute would make Lithuania a regional leader in facilitating investment into projects related to sustainability and social development

Keywords

Sustainable Development Goals, ESG, Sustainability, Impact Finance, United Nations, Lithuania, Emerging Market

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Date Posted:01 November 2021

 

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