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 development is emerging as a high priority for governments, development institutions, corporations, investors, and other actors. However, for the sector to realize its potential, much work needs to be done to strengthen its supportive ecosystem. To succeed at delivering on both their commercial and impact objectives, for-benefit enterprises need access to financial markets that seek positive social and environmental impacts, enabling policy and regulatory environments, integrated assessment and reporting standards and tools, specialized technical and legal assistance and training offerings, and more. In short, the mechanisms that make a market function.
The FSDI is a collaboration of public, private, and philanthropic institutions working to address this challenge by creating the enabling ecosystem required for the fourth sector to flourish. FSDI serves as a platform for collective leadership and action to advance the following strategic priorities globally:
1. Enhance knowledge and raise awareness about for-benefit enterprises and the fourth sector.
2. Develop more enabling policy and regulatory environments for the fourth sector.
3. Promote new business and investment models that are aligned with for-benefit enterprises.
4. Increase educational and training opportunities for fourth sector practitioners and leaders.
5. Develop local and regional hubs to foster collaboration and accelerate fourth sector development in communities.
To advance these priorities, FSDI will bring together stakeholders from business, finance, government, philanthropy, academia, civil society, international organizations, and development institutions to collaborate on a mutually reinforcing set of initial activities:
• Policy – Initiate a global multistakeholder effort to develop a comprehensive policy framework for enabling the fourth sector.
• Knowledge – Conduct a global census of the fourth sector and its ecosystem to support data-driven policy and decision making. Create a public data commons with visualization and analysis tools to house the census and bridge it with existing data sources.
• Awareness – Coordinate a global campaign to raise awareness about the need to upgrade our economic systems, and the role of the fourth sector as an accelerant and leapfrog strategy.
• Training – Develop a global platform to equip policy makers, practitioners, and students with necessary knowledge and skills.
• Business Models – Identify and promote effective structures, models, and practices, including accounting systems, non-financial metrics, management practices, and governance models.
• Investment Models - Identify and promote specialized investment models needed to finance for-benefit enterprises, and identify the tools, procedures, and processes required to make them fully operational.
• Hubs – Support the development of a network of local and regional hubs that serve as innovation laboratories and accelerators, providing shared resources and support services to for-benefit practitioners.
Other Projects Associated with this Initiative Include:
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.
OXFAM - Future of Business Initiative
Oxfam's Future of Business Initiative advances a portfolio of projects supporting for-benefit enterprises—businesses that prioritize social aims and put the interests of workers, farmers, communities and consumers alongside those of investors. Oxfam will help for-benefit businesses to access finance, work with global companies on how they can include such businesses in their supply chains, and investigate how for-benefit businesses can contribute towards tackling global inequality.
CARE Enterprises Growth Fund
A $30 million, 10-year Growth Fund focused on scaling for-benefit enterprises in frontier markets, being structured by CARE Enterprises. This fund will provide access to capital and support to for-benefit enterprises that have graduated from seed stage but have not yet qualified for more conventional forms of capital. CARE Enterprises will create flexible deal structures to meet the unique needs of entrepreneurs so they are better able to respond to the markets in which they operate and the demographics they serve, ultimately increasing their chances of success at scale.
The World Economic Forum Global Future Council (GFC) on International Governance, Public-Private Cooperation and Sustainable Development exists to promote, syndicate and discuss latest trends, technologies and solutions at the nexus of public-private cooperation in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The over arching objective of the GFC is to accelerate the upgrading of economic systems and enterprises globally as a means for advancing inclusive, sustainable development.
The Fourth Sector Group (4SG) is a multi-stakeholder platform for collective leadership and action to accelerate the growth of the fourth sector worldwide. The Fourth Sector Development Initiative, an initiative of the GFC in partnership with 4SG, aims to boost sustainable, inclusive growth by structuring, promoting, and scaling the fourth sector globally.