UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP enters agreement with Biscay Government for Sustainable Development Goals-led economic growth

9 June 2020

IIPP is working closely with the Biscay Regional Governor and his tax team in Spain, to develop the economic framing for an ambitious new tax policy that will be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.


The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) has signed a collaborative agreement to work closely with the Biscay Government, based in Bilbao, Spain, towards their ambition to launch a world-first Sustainable Development Goals-oriented tax system. IIPP will work closely with the team to develop not only the economic framing of the new fiscal policy, but to bring a wider public value lens to economic growth in the Basque region of Northern Spain.

This project draws on several strands of IIPP’s path-breaking thought leadership and research – rethinking the role of the state, transforming institutions, and rethinking the role of value and capitalism in the 21st century. In the current COVID-19 landscape, this work becomes even more vital for an inclusive, green and sustainable economic recovery for the region.

Unai Rementeria and Mariana Mazzucato

Governor Unai Rementeria with IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato

The Biscay government is part of IIPP’s Mission-Oriented Innovation Network, and Governor Unai Rementeria and his team have been in touch with IIPP founder Professor Mariana Mazzucato for several years. IIPP has been working in the Basque region more widely, with the Debagoiena 2030 project in Mondragon. This project will also interface with complementary green and inclusive recovery projects that IIPP is working on at regional level, including in Greater ManchesterEmilia-Romagna and in Camden, London, and on our work on directing finance, including with the Scottish National Investment Bank and as part of our wider public finance project ‘PUFFIN’.

When launching the project, Rementeria said: 

We cannot grow at any price, in any way. We need a more sustainable and inclusive development.

Asier Alea, spokesperson for the Biscay Government, said:

We are delighted to announce the intention to introduce the world’s first tax system that explicitly meet SDGs. This collaboration also comes at a time when the current economic and social situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic requires the adoption of efficient fiscal instruments to guarantee that the process of economic recovery is allied to the creation of more sustainable and inclusive wealth. Because of the pandemic, we are not going to have much money to spend – so we need to look at different ways of how are we going to tackle economic growth and make it sustainable.

The project will be led by Dr Kate Roll, Assistant Professor in Innovation, Development and Value, and Martha McPherson, Head of Green Economy and Sustainable Growth at IIPP.


Explore more of IIPP's policy impact in the areas of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Green Economy:


Green Economy