Bono has said the sustainable development goals “sound like a sexually transmitted disease” at an event at the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos.
The U2 frontman and anti-poverty campaigner hit out at the aid industry for “making exciting ideas look really boring” at the annual conference for top business, political and charity leaders in the Swiss alps.
The Irish founder of the ONE Campaign, 58, said at a panel event on the third day of Davos: “First let me thank everybody for getting up early to go and see a panel called ‘Bridging the financing gap for the sustainable development goals (SDG)’.
“I can imagine people saying ‘Come on honey, it’s going to be great’. The SDGs, it does sound like a sexually transmitted disease, doesn’t it?”
The singer went on: “It’s amazing advertisers spend most of their time trying to make boring ideas look really exciting, but in the development community we seem to spend most of our time making exciting ideas look really boring.
“And it’s not boring. This is what real change looks like. I read the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) report recently, and it reminded me that if we didn’t have the sustainable development goals, we’d have to invent them.”
Afsaneh Mashyekhi, founder and chief executive officer of investment firm RockCreek, said: “What is very interesting is that, even some of the boards I’m on, what you’ll find is that the chief investment officer, if you mention the world impact or ESG or sustainability or SDG, their eyes will glaze over.
“Their first impression is that it means no return.”