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World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Summit

Monday, September 18, 2017 to Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | New York, USA

Session: Partnering to Accelerate Fourth Sector Growth

Registration is not available. 

Partnering to Accelerate Fourth Sector Growth

Session Overview:


Many of the complex global challenges we face are downstream consequences of outmoded economic systems and organizational models that date back to the industrial age. Addressing these challenges at the pace and scale necessary to achieve the SDGs by 2030 requires a fundamental upgrade to our economic systems.
Such an upgrade has in fact been organically unfolding, and now it is time to accelerate and scale it. Over the past several decades have seen many for-profit firms broadening their purpose to pursue social and environmental objectives, while many nonprofit and governmental organizations have adopted market-based approaches to advance their aims. At the same time, a fourth sector of the economy has been rapidly growing at the intersection of the traditional private, public, and nonprofit sectors. This fourth sector consists of “for-benefit” organizations that leverage business as a means to drive social and environmental impact. 
The fourth sector is a great horizon of opportunity for governments, business, investors, civil society, development institutions, and other actors. However, for the sector to deliver on its potential, much work needs to be done to strengthen its supportive ecosystem. To succeed at delivering on both their commercial and social impact objectives, for-benefit enterprises need access to new forms of finance, enabling policy and regulatory environments, integrated measurement and reporting tools, specialized training and technical assistance, and more. In short, the mechanisms that make a market function. 
Scaling the fourth sector is an imperative, To achieve inclusive, sustainable growth and realise the SDGs, tens of trillions of dollars of private capital must flow into for-benefit enterprises that deliver strong social, environmental, and economic impacts across the world by 2030. How can we strengthen the fourth sector’s supportive ecosystem globally at the speed and scale needed for the sector to achieve its potential? 
This session will explore opportunities for accelerating fourth sector growth through collaborative action. It will feature the launch of the Fourth Sector Development Initiative (FSDI), a newly formed multi-stakeholder initiative of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on International Governance, Public-Private Cooperation and Sustainable Development, in partnership with the Fourth Sector Group. It will highlight several initiatives that are being launched as part of the FSDI collaborative. 


Session Objectives
New partnerships that accelerate the scaling of fourth sector solutions around the world, with an emphasis on advancing the following field-building priorities identified by the Fourth Sector Development Initiative:


  • Enhance knowledge and raise awareness about the fourth sector

  • Develop more enabling policy and regulatory environments for the fourth sector

  • Promote new business and investment models that are aligned with for-benefit enterprises

  • Increase educational and training opportunities for fourth sector practitioners and leaders

Develop local and regional hubs to foster collaboration and accelerate fourth sector development in communities

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