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A global movement, organically creating a new fourth sector of the economy.

A rapidly growing global movement is underway that leverages the power of business and markets to solve social and environmental problems. Collectively, pioneering efforts are challenging the traditional boundaries that separate the public, private, and social sectors, giving rise to a vibrant new fourth sector of the economy, comprised of ‘for-benefit’ organizations.  <MORE>

For-benefits are a new class of organization that make up an emerging fourth sector of the economy. Like nonprofits and governmental agencies, for-benefits can pursue a wide range of social missions. Like for-profits, for-benefits can generate a broad range of products and services that improve quality of life for consumers, create jobs, and contribute to the economy.



Despite significant advances over the past several decades, the fourth sector’s supportive ecosystem remains weak and fragmented.


For-benefit organizations still have to rely predominantly on the supportive ecosystems of for-profits and nonprofits, which are mostly incompatible with their needs. For the fourth sector to deliver on its promise, for-benefits need their own enabling policy and regulatory environments, financial markets, training and educational infrastructure, measurement and reporting standards, technical assistance providers, and more. These require rapid shifts—leaps in culture, commerce, law, accounting, education, and other domains over the next 15 years.  LEARN MORE



Calls for systemic reform are being heard from all corners -- business leaders, civil society, multilateral institutions, academia, and politicians. Numerous studies point to an increasing desire among a majority of people – acting as consumers, investors, managers, entrepreneurs, parents, voters, millennials –  to align their economic choices with their values.  LEARN MORE

Numerous studies show that people, in whatever capacity - consumers, investors, managers, entrepreneurs, voters, or millennials – would prefer to align their choices with their values. 

We need leadership across multiple disciplines to develop new structures that support for-benefit entrepreneurs and investors who are leveraging business to tackle social and environmental problems.”


Sir Richard Branson

Founder, Virgin Group

1- 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR study, 2 - 2015 Cone Communications. 3 - The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on. 4 - GSIA Global Sustainable Investment Review 2014. 5 - 2014 Net Impact Business as UNusual Report. 6 - Nonprofits and Business: A New World of Innovation and Adaptation Sustainability 2013. 7 - 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study.  8 - Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2009)



The fourth sector is coming together as a movement of movements. For decades, pioneers have been challenging the status quo across multiple domains--redefining the way we solve problems and reimagining the roles of markets and business in society.  As champions of these movements, they are rethinking the role of capital, innovating new models of enterprise and investment, redefining how we measure progress and performance, reinventing the theory and practice of management. The commitment and dedication to find solutions that are scalable and sustainable is deep.  We are seeing a number of movements emerging and gaining traction that are collectively giving rise to and shaping the fourth sector and its supportive ecosystem all over the world. Some notable examples of these sympathetic movements include:

Impact Investing, Social Enterprise, Conscious Consumerism, Corporate Social Responsibility, Shared Value, New Economy, Venture Philanthropy, Conscious Capitalism, Purpose-Driven Business, Benefit Corporations, Circular Economy.  

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