The Fourth Sector Project is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Economic Forum(WEF) that seeks to facilitate the creation of a more prosperous, socially fair and environmentally sustainable economy in the 22 countries of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, by advancing the development of a new ecosystem for benefit-driven enterprises.
Over the past two decades, the boundaries between the public, private, and non-profit sectors have been blurring as many pioneering organizations have started to blend social and environmental aims with business approaches. These ‘hybrid’ organizations come in a wide variety of forms (B Corporations, Cooperatives, Social and Sustainable Enterprises, Civic Ventures, etc.), but they all share the purpose of achieving financial success while minimizing the negative externalities and delivering strong social and environmental benefits. This business model makes these enterprises one of the best ways that today’s society has to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)by 2030 and solve some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Nevertheless, this transformation will not happen without support. In order to thrive and succeed, for-benefit enterprises are going to need a new and cohesive supportive ecosystem that adapts to their unique characteristics and helps them scale without making compromises that dilute their original values and impact objectives. This is what we call the Fourth Sector, a new economic space at the intersection of the three traditional sectors (public, private and non-profit).
Creating the Fourth Sector will be a highly challenging, long-term, global endeavour that will comprise a number of tasks –from transforming the business culture to creating new financial and regulatory frameworks. Our project seeks to study, advise, and support this process, by raising awareness, funding research, and facilitating the elimination of the regulatory, financial and cultural barriers that currently constrain these initiatives, thus helping to get the Fourth Sector formally established.
We will do all these things by becoming a multi-stakeholder, international platform that brings together key public, private, and philanthropic institutions committed to fostering the enabling ecosystem required for for-benefit enterprises to flourish.
By doing so, we hope to contribute to the creation of a more social, sustainable and inclusive economy, aligned with the global 2030 Agenda and the general interest of the 650 million citizens of Ibero-America.