As the world begins planning for a post-pandemic recovery, the United Nations is calling on people and governments to “build back better” by creating more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies.

Certainly there is an opportunity for change. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, said two years’ worth of digital transformation had occurred in two months as he reported the cloud and software firm’s record results in April.

But as well as digital bits, physical atoms need to be moved.

Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen, director of SDG Impact at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in her article, “A pandemic gives permission for change”, looks at how to direct private capital towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and give investors and enterprises parameters to measure, manage and communicate their contributions in a consistent and transparent manner.

She will discuss this at the GCV Digital Forum on June 3 and 4 before unveiling the UNDP’s enterprise standards of the SDGs at the GCV Symposium in London on December 7 and 8.

This reinforces the Principles for Responsible Investing laid out by the UN, said Fiona Reynolds, chief executive of the PRI to Moral Money, adding the coronavirus is a chance for companies to show they are “managing for the long term when assessing how they treat employees, contractors and suppliers, prioritising these needs over immediate returns to shareholders”, and rewarded for doing so. “The economy is there to support society — not the other way around,” she said in an interview picked up by the Financial Times.

But using the SDGs is more than a metric for communicating than a chance to rethink the types of deals that can be done and why. Tim Harford in the Financial Times looked at why when faced with clear risks we still fail to act, arguing this is an opportunity to think laterally and confront other risks.

And the starting point is scenario planning and recognition of the risks – what are you dealing with and how can entrepreneurs and venture help? After all, as David Hume said: “Truth springs from argument among good friends.”

In order to have those discussions, GCV has set up its GCV Connect Challenges platform to encourage interactivity at the Forum before, during and after the Digital Forum. The responses to those challenges can then be put into action.