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CEOs urge businesses and governments to join them in accelerating the transition towards an inclusive, resilient, sustainable economy by recognizing and supporting purpose-first business as an emerging fourth sector of the economy.

Global Leadership COVID 19 Response Lett

Global CEOs Call on Governments and Business to Build a Better “Purpose-First” Economy

In a historic letter, a new coalition of global corporate leaders representing a combined annual revenue of over $100 billion USD and a combined global workforce of over 500,000 have proposed a roadmap to “build the economic system better,” rather than simply “building it back.” The roadmap’s goal is to create an inclusive and sustainable post-COVID economy that benefits society, the planet, and shareholders for generations to come. In the letter, the group of fourteen CEOs called on governments to accelerate such a transition by recognizing and supporting purpose-first business as an emerging fourth sector of the economy. 

Global Leadership COVID 19 Response Lett
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Commitment to Lead by Example

The signatories have also committed to advance the purpose-first economy by leveraging their procurement, innovation, research, development, and investment to accelerate the growth of this critical sector. The letter provides a practical roadmap for proactively redesigning corporate structures and government policies in the development of a more supportive ecosystem for organizations that operate under a new business logic.


The leaders urge businesses and governments to join them. 


While still evolving, the emergent purpose-first model harnesses decades of innovation to spur sustainable and inclusive economic growth, yielding a healthy society within planetary boundaries, for generations to come. We call on businesses and governments to join us in accelerating the transition towards an inclusive, resilient, sustainable economy that recognizes and enables purpose-first businesses to thrive. We recommend:

CEO Recommendations for Action


Recognize the purpose-first sector.

Governments can acknowledge the mosaic of innovations we have identified as a distinct (and diverse) fourth sector of the economy. They can thereby enable and scale purpose-first businesses through the systematic provision of support and removal of impediments. This can include targeted policy, financing, procurement, contracting, taxation, accountability measures, capacity building, and more.


Incentivize innovations of financial products, risk assessment, valuation models, and ratings.

Develop standards for assessing and accounting for social and environmental impacts of purpose-driven enterprises. Support implementation, i.e. through corporate charters.


Leave no one behind.

Support economies to climb the development ladder by enabling and accelerating the growth of purpose-first businesses and investment to successfully deliver on the Decade of Action in pursuit of global climate and sustainability goals.


Carefully craft incentives and policies.

Encourage other economic actors — the private sector, civil society, investors, academia, philanthropy, and citizens — to engage in the co-creation, employment, and expansion of the fourth sector and its growing ecosystem.


Design for a safe, educated, and healthy society.

Support colleges, universities, and research centers to collaborate and access capital, talent and shared resources. Expand community building and educational training, develop regional platforms and new curricula. Equip policymakers, practitioners, and students with necessary knowledge and skills for careers in the purpose-driven economy.


Enable a supportive ecosystem

Building a better post-COVID-19 economy by creating an enabling ecosystem that serves both purpose-first businesses and conventional businesses that want to transition toward a purpose-first logic.




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Leaders on Purpose:
CEO Community  


Standing still is no longer an option. Today the world is calling on all leaders to have the courage, wisdom and foresight to emerge from the current crisis together with a better approach. The Leaders on Purpose CEO community is actively working together to reset business towards a purpose-driven business logic for the benefit of society and the planet – for generations to come. 

Are you a purpose-driven leader working to build a better economy? We invite you to join our community.


Join the growing alliance of global leaders standing up for building a better economy, by raising your voice in support of the Call to Action.


Share your view on what the Call means for you and your organization’s values and priorities.


How does it relate to work you have been doing in this context?


Do you have any recommendations to add, or suggestions for implementation? 



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Building a Better Economy: Action Platform  

The Platform is a collective global effort driven by leaders in business, policy, investing, academia, social innovation, civil society, and other domains who have come together to harness the growing fourth sector of the economy as a pathway for social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. 

Join us, and learn how to take action on the CEO Call for a better economy.


Fourth Sector Policy Challenge Facebook

Building a Better Economy Global Policy Challenge - 8 Sept, 2020 to 18 Jan, 2021

The recommendations in the CEO Call to Action will be advanced by a global policy Challenge on 8 September, 2020 to 18 January, 2021. This virtual innovation event will bring together corporate, government, academic, and institutional partners with thousands of experts and innovators from around the world. Together they will work in teams to develop immediate and long-term public policy solutions for implementing the recommendations and unleashing cross-sector action to enable the purpose-first economy to thrive. 

"Today, more than ever, the world needs to be able to reimagine a new future. A future in which people can feel safe and protected. The initiative being set in motion by Leaders on Purpose is an effort toward defining the new environment. It provides a much-needed aspirational framework – one which has the power to change the language of business discourse and how we regard the future. The philosophy of Leaders on Purpose resonates deeply with Mahindra’s vision and has the potential to become a movement which will define the future for generations to come.” 


Anand Mahindra,

Chairman, Mahindra Group

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“The private sector needs an integrated strategy and supportive eco-system that integrates more fairness, less dependency, more climate and sustainability focus, preparedness, and agility for uncertain times. We each have to think about the world around us, our role in it, our tremendous potential, and how we can contribute to making it better together.”


Feike Sijbesma,

Honorary Chairman DSM


"Guided by our Commitment to Life for 2030, we at Natura &Co are committed to being part of building a more sustainable and inclusive society. We believe the pandemic has presented a chance for every business to rethink how it will make the necessary changes to address the global challenges we face. This will be the decade of action for change. None of us can do this alone, but working together will enable us to find effective and creative solutions. That’s why we support this important call to action for cross-sector collaboration.”

Roberto Marques,

Executive Chairman and Group CEO, Natura &Co

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“Our world was a dangerous and troubled place even before COVID-19 took hold. We have the chance to rebuild a fairer, greener society. But to do so we need courageous business leaders who are willing to act, individually and as a collective. It’s why I applaud the signatories of this letter. No company alone can solve the problems we face. But together we can begin to challenge the orthodoxies which got us here. Together we can help the world change.”


Paul Polman,

former CEO of Unilever

“As we begin the Decade of Action to achieve agenda 2030, we must work together to reimagine a better world for children, young people and their families around the world – especially in developing markets. This new initiative provides a vehicle for UNICEF to join forces with purpose-driven businesses and support countries and communities as they build stronger economies and systems that can support all people in the years ahead.”


Henrietta Fore,

Executive Director UNICEF

"The COVID-19 crisis layers on top of existing global crises in climate, inequality, and fragility, hitting the world’s most vulnerable hardest, but impacting all of us. This has turned gaps in finance for sustainable development into a risk of total collapse. Today’s recovery measures from the public and private sector create an opportunity we cannot ignore: to mobilize and align global finance to build better, greener, and more resilient. I applaud the global business leaders calling to formalize the fourth sector for their resolve to contribute to a new, inclusive and sustainable economic system that leaves no one behind."

Jorge Moreira da Silva,

Director, OECD Development Co-operation Directorate

“As the institutional representative of more than 45 million businesses in over 100 countries, ICC recognizes the clear business case for ensuring greater resilience in our global economic systems. Purpose-driven businesses – enabled by appropriate public policy reforms – have a vital role to play in ensuring the skills and ingenuity of the private sector are fully utilized to mitigate the fundamental fragilities that have been of exposed by the coronavirus crisis.”

John W.H. Denton AO,

ICC Secretary General

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“Meridian supports this call to action for global leaders in governments, agencies, NGOs, the private sector and civil society to collaborate across sectors and build a better, more fair and equitable economic future. Without working together and exchanging ideas, we will miss out on the opportunity to design solutions that make progress toward building an economy that guarantees all of society and the planet can thrive for generations to come. Together by supporting this purpose-driven movement, we can set the agenda for the prosperous, secure and sustainable economy we want and need.”


Ambassador Stuart Holliday,

President and CEO, Meridian International Center

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"We at Horasis support this call for cross-sector collaboration under the shared vision of a better economy – that operates on a purpose based business logic, for the post-covid world. This initiative advances a necessary productive dialogue and collective collaboration for our global recovery – envisioning and implementing novel business models, new political cooperation and deep social cohesion. It is time to unite and to inspire in order to create a shared and coherent vision of the economies we want to live in – for generations to come."


Dr. Frank-Jürgen Richter,

Chairman of Horasis

“Besides the devastating health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many signs show that we are dealing with one of the most severe economic slumps in modern history – along with severe impediments in our ambition to meet the development goals of the 2030 Agenda. This call for action from global business leaders is a welcome step in the right direction, to ensure that recovery packages are mobilized towards investments for the future, fully aligned with the green transformation that we need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”


Olga Algayerova,

Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe

“We are in a full-blown health, economic and social crisis. This purpose-driven movement with Leaders on Purpose is an encouraging step proving international organisations can work together so that we can build a better tomorrow. There is too much at stake not to take decisive action now. It's evident to me that we will need global cooperation to fight today's inequalities and the worldwide pandemic, and to rebuild trust between business, policy and civil society.”

Helen Clark,

Former Prime Minister, New Zealand

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