Strategic and Financial Approaches for the Joint Implementation of the 17 SDGs and the European Green Deal
Angelos Plataniotis and
No 2228, DEOS Working Papers from Athens University of Economics and Business
The European Green Deal (EGD) is the growth strategy for Europe, covering an extensive range of areas, including Climate Action, Energy, Agriculture, Industry and Infrastructure, Environment and Biodiversity, Transportation, Finance and Development, and Research and Innovation. The UN Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our plan for building national, continental, and global investment programs for sustainable development. In this paper, we select 34 central policies and strategies published during 2020-21 to support the EGD's implementation and assess how they align with Agenda 2030 aspirations through two proposed text-mining methodologies: one human-based and two machine-learning-based. Our results show the connection of EGD policies not only to the expected thematic SDGs but also to Goals 16 and 17, indicating that progress towards sustainability passes through "Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions" (SDG 16) and international "Partnerships for the Goals" (SDG 17). Next, we apply the 6 transformations for operationalizing the SDGs, introduced by Sachs et al. 2019. We show that while the EGD policies support mostly the Transformations concerning "Sustainable Food, Land, and Oceans" and "Energy Decarbonization and Industry". Further, we build the connection between EGD/SDGs implementation and the need to measure, monetize, and integrate natural capital considerations into investment assessment processes. We develop an ecosystem-based benefits-transfer valuation approach to assign economic values to natural capital across the 14 biogeographical and marine areas of Europe, which involves the performance of a meta-regression analysis on values extracted from existing empirical studies using a value transfer function, and highlight the importance of bringing them into investment and financial decisions. Finally, key takeaways from this paper are summarized, and recommendations for strategic directions policymakers should take to better prepare them to face the major challenges that will arise as a result of implementing the ambitious sustainability agenda are suggested.
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