Global Impact & SDG Platforms in Review


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has led to a significant amount of energy, cross-sectoral collaboration, and to a proliferation of online business platforms, data engines, and coalitions. Although we believe that this is in general a positive development, it has also contributed to an increasingly fragmented landscape of online platforms that seek to trigger action, investment, collaboration, or learning.

Building on work done by TBLI Group, this visualization provides an overview of 200+ online impact and sustainability- related platforms – most notably investment and private sector collaboration hubs – that we have run into as part of our work. It is by no means a comprehensive overview and only begins to unpack the platform universe, its features and shortcomings. We will continue to expand the analysis and invite all online platforms that we may have missed to add their organizations.


WHITE:Primary Platform Focus
FADED:Secondary Platform Focus
RED CIRCLES:  SDG Lens Applied
SOURCE:C-Change Analysis, 2018


There are thousands of online platforms out there. Each with their own target audience, purpose, impact, and geographic focus. This visualisation maps online platforms against 6 roles:

  1. Awareness Raising, i.e., platforms that build energy around impact themes or issues
  2. Community Building, i.e., platforms that offer individuals and/or organizations a home to connect
  3. Knowledge & Innovation, i.e., platforms that surface new insights or solutions
  4. Data & Analytics, i.e., platforms that aggregate data and statistics on targeted impact related topics
  5. Investment, i.e., platforms that seek to mobilize capital or other resources for impact related projects, enterprises, or other types of organizations
  6. Collective Action, i.e., platforms that facilitate collaboration and agenda setting between different actors.

Platforms tend to play a number of roles at the same time (2-3 on average). We have therefore distinguished between a platform’s primary focus (i.e., their main function or role) and secondary focus (i.e., functions that a platforms serves alongside). Pop-up boxes provide additional context related to a platform’s target audience, impact priorities, and geographic focus. We also indicated whether a platform is actively using the SDGs in their communications and work (i.e., whether an ‘SDG lens’ is applied).

An analysis of the user base of each platform is in progress, yet it is clear that many platforms today are sub-scale and do not mobilize resources, learning, or action at the scale that is needed to achieve 2030 SDG success. Our conclusion: (1) Only a pooled effort to establish a more connected online architecture will lead to the emergence of a thriving impact economy and ecosystem; (2) It is therefore high time to rethink and invest in the establishment of a connected, integrated, and open online SDG infrastructure. For further recommendations, see our blog.


Important to note is that, while the study reviews which platforms have actively embraced the SDGs online, we did not choose to only include those who have done so. Reason is that many valuable platforms and communities for the Agenda existed well before the SDGs were announced, and cannot be excluded merely for not having embraced the new framework in their online activities.

Follow on research is encouraged as it relates to the actual impact of individual platforms, including technical, human, and financial ingredients to success and/or failure. We want to recognize the work done by, TBLI Group as well as forthcoming research by Sphaera, Artha Capital and the Bertelsmann Foundation on this topic. We look forward to collaborate with these organizations and others in advancing our vision for an interoperable SDG infrastructure and navigation system.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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