Shape policy environments conducive to the growth of for-benefits while ensuring their accountability.

Advance Policy

Policy and regulatory environments are critical to the ecosystem’s development and scaling. For-benefits need a comprehensive policy regime consistent with the depth and breadth of the policy environments that enable the other sectors. This includes legal recognition and formalization as a distinct class of entity, appropriate tax treatment, transparency requirements, accountability standards, regulation of investments, and much more. While fourth sector policy will vary according to the unique requirements and concerns of each country and region, certain principles of social equity and environmental sustainability will need to remain consistent with global norms.

Enhance Knowledge

Advance Policy

Connect Stakeholders

Raise Awareness

Educate & Train

Mobilize Resources


Current Initiatives Advancing Policy on the 4SG Platform: 

Fourth Sector Development Initiative

An initiative of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on International Governance, Public-Private Cooperation and Sustainable Development, the Fourth Sector Development Initiative is a collaboration of public, private, and philanthropic institutions committed to accelerating sustainable, inclusive development by catalyzing trillions of dollars of fourth sector growth globally by 2030. Supported by the Fourth Sector Group platform, FSDI fosters collective action globally to enhance knowledge and raise awareness about the fourth sector, to develop more enabling policy and regulatory environments for the fourth sector, to promote new business and investment models that are aligned with for-benefit enterprises, to increase educational and training opportunities for fourth sector practitioners and leaders, and to develop local and regional hubs to foster collaboration and accelerate fourth sector development in communities.

Fourth Sector Mapping Initiative

Established in 2014, the Fourth Sector Mapping Initiative (FSMI) is a global, multi-stakeholder collaboration to improve the quality and quantity of data on the fourth sector, to enhance policymaking, economic development, research, investment, and other ecosystem development. Led by a 180+ member Advisory Council of diverse experts, in collaboration with the Urban Institute, The B Team, and a growing network of other partners around the world, FSMI is conducting a global census of for-benefit entities and their supportive ecosystems, which will be combined with existing data from public agencies and private repositories and made available in an open, freely accessible, participatory “Data Commons” for the benefit of practitioners and the public. FSMI is also developing a rigorous classification system for identifying different types of for-benefit organizations.

Fourth Sector Policy Initiative

A global, multi-stakeholder collaboration to develop and promulgate a comprehensive fourth sector policy framework, including model laws that could be adopted at the national, state and local levels around the world. To inform the work, the Fourth Sector Policy Initiative is undertaking a research effort in collaboration with DLA Piper and other partners to examine recent legal and regulatory reforms which have been adopted around the world to recognize and support for-benefit organizations.

Fourth Sector Data Commons

To meet the global demand for better data and understanding about for-benefit organizations, the goal of the Fourth Sector Data Commons is to create a comprehensive, worldwide source of information on the scale, scope and performance of for-benefit organizations, their supporting ecosystem, and other closely aligned organizations. It will be an open, freely accessible, participatory, cloud-based platform that enables users to pool and access existing sources of relevant data; gather, update, expand, and deepen data on ongoing basis; and perform business, impact, and policy analysis and research. A component of the Fourth Sector Mapping Initiative, the Data Commons will be developed and stewarded for the benefit of public agencies, practitioners, researchers, consumers, economic developers and other members of the fourth sector community. 

Fourth Sector Taxonomy Framework

The Fourth Sector Taxonomy Framework is a comprehensive, systematic effort aimed at defining and creating a classification structure for for-benefit organizations in order to help policymakers, investors, researchers, and other key stakeholders better understand the fourth sector and differentiate the various types of for-benefit organizations. The Taxonomy Framework aims to develop a rigorous definition of the fourth sector’s boundaries by identifying the characteristics that distinguish for-benefit organizations from traditional for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. A component of the Fourth Sector Mapping Initiative, the Taxonomy Framework is being developed through a multi-stakeholder consensus process driven by a brain trust of nearly 200 leading experts, and informed by research, data collection, and analysis.

Ibero-American Fourth Sector Project

The Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) is launching an international project aimed at supporting the development of the fourth sector in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. This project will fund a number of studies that will analyse the potential contributions of this new sector, as well as exploring ways to overcome the main regulatory, financial and cultural barriers that currently constrain its growth. The project will also conduct a series of entrepreneurial activities in several countries in order to raise awareness on the benefits of the fourth sector among entrepreneurs, policy makers, and citizens. By doing so, SEGIB intends to contribute to the creation of a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive economy aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda and the general interest of the Ibero-American people and global society.