The global health pandemic, economic crisis, and racial justice uprisings — as well as the accelerating climate emergency — have revealed a deeper, more fundamental problem: Our current economic system rewards maximizing wealth over wellbeing and prioritizes individualism over interdependence.
This is our opportunity to reimagine and redesign what comes next.
A RESET of our economic system requires integrated activities to drive behavioral, cultural, and structural change. Imperative 21 is a business-led network that:
- Equips leaders to accelerate their transition to stakeholder capitalism.
- Shifts the cultural narrative about the role of business and finance in society.
- Realigns incentives and facilitates a supportive public policy environment.
We need a more just economy that works for everyone and for the long term.
The current system does not support our collective vision of shared wellbeing on a healthy planet. Without a RESET, we will not achieve the SDGs, or make real progress on the Business Roundtable restatement of corporate purpose and World Economic Forum Manifesto on stakeholder capitalism.
The Imperatives for Economic System Change represent the design objectives for the RESET: design for interdependence; invest for justice; account for stakeholders. For each Imperative there are emerging pathways that come from a broad network of allies, illuminate a direction of travel for decision makers across the private sector, government, and civil society and will evolve over time.
Imperatives for economic system change
- Recognize the interdependence of healthy people, planet, and economies;
- Balance the relationships between the private sector, government and civil society;
- Ensure that everyone has access to free and fair markets.
- Remove structural inequality;
- Ensure leadership and ownership are more inclusive, and investment more accessible;
- Use technology to advance democratic ideals and human rights;
- Promote greater voice, power and opportunity for those currently marginalized.
- Measure success based on credible common metrics of sustainable value creation for all stakeholders;
- Create incentives that reward business and investments creating social and environmental value;
- Enhance standards of fiduciary duty.
Here’s the good news:
Stakeholder capitalism is working.
According to JUST Capital, companies that lead in meeting the needs of all their stakeholders – not just their shareholders – have outperformed the laggards by almost 30% over the past four years, and by double-digit margins throughout the pandemic.
We call on leaders everywhere to support this RESET by leading the transformation of their own organizations, as well as the cultural and structural changes necessary to transform the system in which we operate.
Everyone has a role to play in the RESET.
- Shift hearts and minds — download RESET Activation Kit
- Offer your leadership — reach out to explore how.
System change requires all of us. Let’s RESET. Together.