This year saw more governments and businesses than ever before put the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of their development plans. As 2018 begins, how on track is implementation of the 2030 global goals, and what does 2018 hold for sustainable investment?

Despite major advances, the UN’s 2017 annual progress report on SDGs warned that unless the speed of progress is stepped up, the 17 goals to be achieved by 2030 will be missed.  “Implementation has begun, but the clock is ticking,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “The rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030.”

In November, a UN report praised countries that are increasingly using SDGs to tackle poverty and address inequalities within their national development plans. More than 60 nations voluntarily reported on their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

However, a funding gap of nearly $2.5 trillion must be bridged if the 2030 goals are to be made a reality. The UN’s development program sees impact investment as a key way to close this gap. It’s a view shared by UBS, the world’s leading global wealth manager.

“It’s no longer a niche market,” said Sergio Ermotti, UBS group CEO. “Impact investment is an important business driver and, more importantly, it is a business driver because clients want it.”

UBS is launching a series of investment products aligned to the 17 SDGs. These will be linked to sustainability and impact-screened indices including on global sustainability, social equality-based LGBTQ and an index linked to the environment and clean energy. A portion of profits will be donated to philanthropic foundation UBS Optimus Foundation.

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