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Cross-Sector Coalition Launches Global Challenge to Develop Breakthrough Policy Solutions to Build a Better Economy

Mobilizing Collaboration to ‘Hack’ Actionable Policy Solutions in Lead-up to United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and G20


Washington, DC (September 10, 2020) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic and global unrest have brought to light the vulnerabilities of our economic systems, sending economies around the world into freefall, The Fourth Sector Group in collaboration with a group of partners has announced the Building a Better Economy Challenge, a global policy “hackathon” to accelerate recovery toward an inclusive and sustainable economy that puts the well-being of people and the planet first. The Challenge calls on innovators, experts and organizations from around the world from policy, business, finance, law, economics, philanthropy, academia, civil society, development, technology, design and other fields to come together to develop actionable policy solutions to critical issues facing societies in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.


Governments are spending trillions on response and recovery. Rather than “building back,” the Challenge seeks to equip them with solutions for “building better” by harnessing decades of innovation developed by pioneers who have been reimagining and remaking systems of finance, enterprise, policy, assessment, production and consumption to better serve the common good. Impact investing, social enterprise, ESG, venture philanthropy, public benefit corporations, circular economy and blended finance are a few examples.


This mosaic of innovations, involving countless organizations and networks around the world, has been spurring the emergence of a new approach to economy and enterprise that combines the best of the public sector (governments), private sector (for-profit businesses), and third sector (non-profits). This has led to the blurring of the boundaries among these three sectors while giving rise to a fourth sector of the economy estimated to represent as much as 6% of GDP in Ibero-America and 10% in the U.S. and Europe.


The Building a Better Economy Challenge is in direct response to a Global Call to Action, organized by Leaders on Purpose, outlining a roadmap for sustainable recovery from the COVID crisis, signed by CEOs and chairs of leading global corporations including MasterCard, Philips, Mahindra, Danone, Fortune and L’Oreal, among others. 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. The group called on governments to accelerate such a transition by recognizing and supporting purpose-first business as an emerging fourth sector of the economy, crafting coherent policies and incentives, removing barriers, fostering innovation and strengthening its supportive ecosystem. 


The Challenge is a virtual event that will have several stages. It will run from September 8 until October 28, during which a global community of organizations and individuals will come together to connect and collaborate. Some participants will pose critical challenges to be solved. Others will work in teams or individually to develop actionable policy solutions to address these challenges. Select solutions will be presented to governments, showcased alongside the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly, introduced at the G20, and amplified through print and digital media and events. Contributors may have opportunities to participate in future implementation of their solutions.


The Fourth Sector Group, a global nonprofit platform for collective leadership and action, is coordinating the Challenge in collaboration with a range of partners. The event is facilitated by event partner Global Legal Hackathon. 


“This is a pivotal moment in history where we face an imperative to build a smarter, more equitable economy that sustains the well-being of all people and the planet,” said Heerad Sabeti, CEO of The Fourth Sector Group. “Many actors hold key pieces of the puzzle to build such an economy, and we hope this Challenge will bring these innovators together to generate the breakthrough policy solutions that are urgently needed. For the sake of the future we all steward, we must summon our collective will, wisdom, and courage to rise to this moment and create the better world that lies within our reach.” 


Starting today, all types of organizations are invited to submit challenges to be solved by participants. For example, the leading health technology multinational, Philips, is looking for solutions to improve access to healthcare using technology, as well as to address regulatory barriers to enable a shift to the circular economy. “At Philips, it is our purpose to improve people’s health and well-being, while acting responsibly towards our planet and society. This also requires innovative policies and regulations that enable purpose-driven businesses and business models to flourish. Still there are many policy barriers to improving access to healthcare and adopting circular economy practices. We are calling on organizations, policymakers, academics and innovators worldwide to take part in this challenge to help us design solutions to remove these barriers. The economy is going to be rebuilt; we can build it better, together," said Robert Metzke, Global Head of Sustainability, Chief of Staff Innovation & Strategy, Royal Philips.


The Meridian International Center, a leading non-partisan institution that works closely with U.S. government agencies, NGOs, international governments, and the private sector to advance global security and prosperity, is seeking solutions to increase access to education for disadvantaged communities through technology, and to boost investment in the creative economy to support artists whose livelihoods have been decimated by the pandemic. “As the leading nonpartisan diplomacy institution in Washington, D.C., Meridian International Center exists to strengthen engagement between the United States and the world. That's why we believe the 'Building a Better Economy Challenge' is a great opportunity to bring together our global network of 10,000 thought leaders and innovators to develop mutually beneficial solutions to shared global challenges,” said Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of Meridian International Center.


About The Fourth Sector Group

The Fourth Sector Group (4SG) is a global multi-stakeholder platform for collective leadership and action aimed at accelerating the development of a supportive ecosystem for the fourth sector of the economy. Through a variety of collaborative initiatives, 4SG brings together businesses, civil society, governments, multilaterals, philanthropists, academia, ecosystem builders, and industry and sector leaders to create a conducive environment for for-benefit organizations to thrive. To succeed at scale, 4SG catalyzes, leverages, amplifies, integrates, and supports the efforts of numerous other organizations, serving as a neutral, nonpartisan, inclusive platform for collaboration and innovation to rapidly accelerate the for-benefit movement.

About The Global Legal Hackathon 

The Global Legal Hackathon is the world’s largest legal innovation event. Each year, thousands of legal industry professionals gather in dozens of cities and countries to develop new technology to improve the world’s legal industry, resulting in hundreds of projects ranging from commercial applications to public benefit and access to justice applications. Earlier this year, for the first time, the GLH co-led an Inclusivity Challenge to increase diversity in law, which inspired over 40 projects and solutions from 20 countries.


About Building a Better Economy 
Building a Better Economy is a collaboration driven by leaders in policy, business, investing, academia, social innovation, and civil society 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. Partners include The Fourth Sector Group, Dalberg, Leaders on Purpose, International Chamber of Commerce, CARE, Meridian International Center, Slaughter and May, Reboot the Future, Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement, the Financial Times, and the Ibero-American General Secretariat. 


Stephanie Duffy
Ana Carolina Diaz


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