The Schwab Foundation’s Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship today launched the Rise Ahead Pledge, a new initiative that will mobilise private sector commitments on social innovation to help meet the estimated $1.125 trillion in funding required by social enterprises and work to build a more sustainable, equitable world for all.
Following growing public sector recognition of the transformative value of the social economy, the new initiative, led by the Schwab Foundation and the Global Alliance, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, calls on the private sector to also champion and further bolster social innovation.
By endorsing the Rise Ahead Pledge as early signatories, over a dozen companies have committed to increase their engagement in social innovation, and the social economy, by 2030, helping social enterprises across the world find innovative solutions to pressing global challenges such as climate change, inequality and political polarisation.
“The Rise Ahead Pledge will combine the efficiency and resources of the private sector with the creative problem-solving skills of social enterprises,” said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. “This synergy can help deliver innovative, impact-driven solutions to key global challenges and foster a brighter, fairer future for all.”
The pledge is complemented by a new comprehensive report – The Corporate Social Innovation Compass: Accelerating Impact through Social Enterprise Partnerships – developed in a collaboration between the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, Deloitte and the Schwab Foundation.
The report provides an in-depth analysis of best practices for corporate engagement in social innovation. Through more than 40 interviews and consultations, the report outlines 11 mechanisms for effective partnerships with social enterprises, showing how collaboration with mission-driven organisations can have a wide array of business benefits at all stages of a social impact journey.
“Positive-impact entrepreneurs, who measure success by the good they do rather than the profits they make, matter now more than ever,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice-President and President, National Transformation Partnership, Microsoft. “But while they may have energy and talent in abundance, solving economic, social and environmental challenges requires synergy between the right technology, partners and people. The Rise Ahead Pledge is a commitment to empower a global network of social enterprises to drive social and environmental innovation at scale.”
Rise of the social economy
New data compiled by the Schwab Foundation and members of the Global Alliance, published on the occasion of the launch of the pledge, estimates that social entrepreneurs also provide significant economic contributions with revenues of $2 trillion annually. By this measure, the social entrepreneurship sector is larger than the apparel industry, with significant room for growth.
The public sector has already recognised the transformative potential of social innovation for finding solutions to societal, political and environmental challenges. This is evidenced by multiple recent initiatives such as the UN Resolution on the Social and Solidarity Economy, the EU Action Plan, the African Union’s 10-Year Strategy, the ILO Resolution, an OECD recommendation and various national initiatives.
“Our commitment to the pledge goes beyond corporate responsibility; it is about the future of business and about being part of a global movement towards an inclusive economy,” said Julia White, Executive Board Member and Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer, SAP. “Through our partnership with social innovators, we seek to address the root causes of societal challenges, creating pathways for empowerment, innovation and sustainable growth. It is a promise to each person that they are a vital part of our collective future.”
The signatories of the pledge commit to take action in time for 2030, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They also commit to new activities or expanding their existing social innovation in at least two of the following areas: provide financial support to social innovators; provide non-financial support to social innovators; buy from social innovators (social procurement); provide financial support to the social innovation ecosystem; integrate social innovation principles into core business operations; and implement or expand programmes to support employees to develop social innovation initiatives internally.
Signatories furthermore commit to creating collective quantitative targets for their activities in time for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2025.
The pledge signatories include Adecco Group’s Innovation Foundation, Bayer Foundation, EY, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, Kale Group, Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, Medtronic LABS, Melitta Group, Microsoft, Sanofi’s Foundation S, SAP, SK Group’s Center for Social Value Enhancement Studies and SUEZ. Other industry leaders are invited to join them.
For more information, contact Daniel Nowack, Head of the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, World Economic Forum firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship
The Global Alliance is an initiative by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with the World Economic Forum. It is the largest multistakeholder coalition in support of the social innovation sector. It focuses on supporting social innovators to inspire the transition to the stakeholder economy by helping private sector actors build partnerships with social entrepreneurs and their intermediaries, and by engaging with the public sector to support policy implementation in support of the social economy. For further information, click here.
About the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
In partnership with the World Economic Forum, the Schwab Foundation is the foremost global community of pioneering social innovators driving systemic change.
About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Rebuilding Trust. For further information, click here.