UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP develops first regional fiscal policy in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals

9 December 2020

IIPP is collaborating closely with the Biscay regional Government, Spain, in the Biscay Economic Activity Review (BEAR) project to develop the first local fiscal policy in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Biscay press conference

The BEAR project is a collaboration between IIPP and the Biscay Government based in Bilbao, Spain. It is a world-first initiative aligning a region’s fiscal policies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and marks a significant advance in sustainable growth. In Phase 1, the IIPP team is creating a model that enables the Biscay tax authorities to compare the contributions and progress of each firm towards the SDGs across participating companies, and provide corporate tax incentives accordingly. Phase two, starting in May 2021, will involve looking beyond taxation, at Biscay’s wider public policies.

In a press conference between IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato and the President of the Provincial Council of Biscay, Unai Rementeria Maiz, Professor Mazzucato highlights the need to re-design the tax system in an ambitious way that catalyses bottom up investment inline with the SDGs. The conference has been taken up by various news outlets in Biscay, in the Basque Country and on a national level, reporting positively on the new initiative.

The BEAR project draws on a variety of IIPP’s pathbreaking research themes; rethinking the direction of growth through the SDGs, supporting the Biscay government to take on a ‘market-shaping’ role and to actively tilt the playing field in the direction of sustainable development and reintroducing the importance of public value as being collectively generated through public-private collaboration.

BEAR’s mission is to create a powerful tool that can eventually be adopted worldwide; a tool that drives inclusive and sustainable economic recovery from the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. Unai Rementeria Maiz stated during the press conference:

‘We can’t grow at any price, in any way. We need a more sustainable and inclusive development. We need to look after and preserve the values that bring society together.’
‘No podemos crecer a cualquier precio, no podemos crecer de cualquier manera, y necesitamos un desarrollo sostenible y a su vez un desarrollo que sea inclusivo. Necesitamos cuidar y preservar esos grandes valores que hilvanan una sociedad.’

Watch the press conference:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3WF54gnaeI&t=820s

Read more about the project on the Bizkaia Talent website.



Dr Kate Roll
Head of Teaching and Assistant Professor in Innovation, Development and Value

David Aeron-Thomas
Interim Senior Policy Fellow in Sustainable Development