Invest NYC SDG Initiatve

The Invest NYC SDG Initiative is a two-year project led by NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business with the goal of driving private sector financing of a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient New York City.

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business announces new initiative to scale up investment in NYC local economy with $350K in sup

In this two-year Initiative, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) will identify opportunities for private sector financing using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework.

NYU Stern CSB is uniquely positioned to lead an inclusive stakeholder engagement and research initiative that monetizes the size of the prize for business in creating a more sustainable future for the city’s current and future inhabitants. With support from Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental MarketsPepsiCo and New York Community Trust, CSB aims to develop a shared vision with a wide group of stakeholders for how private sector investment can be stimulated in partnership with the public and nongovernmental sectors.

By identifying opportunities for investment in meaningful solutions for issues such as affordable housing, energy efficiency, mobility solutions, waste management, food access, and climate resilience, as well as simultaneously providing jobs and neighborhood revitalization, NYC will be the foremost city at the intersection of business, finance and the UN SDGs.

Invest NYC SDG Focus Areas

Invest NYC SDG Focus Areas

Invest NYC SDG Initiative Background

The Invest NYC SDG Initiative is a two-year project led by NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) with the goal of monetizing the size of the prize for business in creating a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future economy in NYC.

Through research and inclusive stakeholder engagement, CSB will use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to identify opportunities for private sector financing of community initiatives to tackle issues such as affordable housing, energy access, urban mobility, waste and climate resilience.

The majority of New York City's “One City: Built to Last” sustainable development plan align with the UN SDGs and paves the way for catalytic progress in meeting set goals. However, the City’s sustainability plans offer mostly incremental change and are currently insufficient for more systematic solutions due to their lack of engagement of civil society and the private sector. 

For systemic change to occur there needs to be engagement and collaboration between the private and public sectors. This was recognized by the 2017 “Better Business, Better World” report, where the $12 trillion business opportunity identified in the reports based on assumptions of multi stakeholder interaction. At CSB, we are uniquely positioned to understand complex ecosystems of stakeholders and build consensus around commercially viable solutions. 

Progressing transitions in any of these opportunities requires cooperation across a number of stakeholders and frameworks. It demands addressing cross-sectoral linkages through multi-stakeholder and partnership approaches. This has to involve regional and local governments, the private sector, consumers, science and technology actors and the business community. 

Unfortunately, the sort of cooperation needed does not occur naturally which we believe is creating a significant bottleneck for SDG development. There are many different scenarios for describing such bottlenecks and they are primarily based on lack of cooperation and disconnect. NYU is well positioned to research and understand these complex ecosystem challenges, with CSB at the epicenter of this work. 

CSB has a history of bringing solutions to challenges within sustainability and understand the underlying requirements for success. Similar to earlier achievements, CSB aims to develop a shared vision across wide groups of stakeholders and across fundamental value drivers.

Focus Areas

 Focus Area   Project Types 
 Mobility Solutions   Public transportation, electric/hybrid, vehicles, fuel efficiency, and congestion management 
 Built Environment   Affordable housing, energy efficiency, and smart buildings 
 Waste   Circular solutions (for plastics, glass, metals, paper, etc.), combined food waste, and wastewater for energy production 
 Renewable Energy   Wind, solar, ground source heat, identifying renewable energy buyers 
 Food and Health   Food waste, food deserts, food transport, and urban farming 
 Climate Resilience   Public infrastructure, private real estate, and preparedness 


Administration and Governance

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business will coordinate the project under the leadership of CSB Director and Professor Tensie Whelan and Project Director Chris Walker.

This is a two-year project with four phases: outreach and discovery; research and analysis; consultation and commitment; and implementation planning. The project will be highly consultative. We will assemble key stakeholders and experts that we can contact to facilitate the projects direction and verify ideas. 

We will present the results of our research to a Steering Committee of key stakeholders every quarter for the duration of the project to ensure that the project is proceeding in the correct direction and engaging the right actors. We will present the results of our research to stakeholders for discussion, revision and prioritization by the beginning of the second year. Then we will work with the constituents for the top priorities identified to develop financing and implementation plans, as well as ensure there are leadership groups that will carry the initiatives forward after the project is completed.

Steering Committee

Thank you to the following Steering Committee members for lending their time, expertise and support to the Invest NYC SDG project.

Charlene Denizard, Director, Global Citizenship and PepsiCo Foundation, Pepsico (Interim)
Jeff Gitterman, Co-Founder, Gitterman Wealth Management
Will Kennedy, Programme Officer, UN Office of Partnerships
Micah Kotch, Managing Director, Urban-X
Nilda Mesa, Director, Urban Sustainability and Equity Planning Program, Center for Sustainable Urban Development/Earth Institute, Columbia 
Kyung-Ah Park, Managing Director & Head of Environmental Markets, Goldman Sachs 
Sanaz Raczynski, Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, Nuveen
Frances Resheske, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Con Ed
Aniket Shah, Senior Fellow at Columbia University Center for Sustainable Investment, Columbia, and former Head of Sustainable Investing, Oppenheimer
Kevin Smith, Vice President, Environmental Markets Group, Goldman Sachs
Tim Wilkins, Partner, Head of Sustainability, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, LLP
John Williams, Chairman and CEO, Impact Infrastructure