About The Network

Representing more than 70,000 businesses, 20 million employees, $6.6 trillion in revenue, and $15 trillion in assets under management, Imperative 21 is a business-led network driving economic systems change.

Imperative 21 is driving a RESET from shareholder primacy to stakeholder capitalism, which creates shared wellbeing on a healthy planet. The stewards of the Imperative 21 network – include: B Lab (certifier of B Corporations), The B Team, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP), Common Future, Conscious Capitalism, The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), JUST Capital, and Participant.

The Imperative 21 network is united by our vision and shared mission to equip leaders to lead consistent with the Imperatives for Economic System Change; to shift the cultural narrative about the role of business and finance in society; and to realign incentives in a supportive policy environment.

Together, and with others, we will support business and finance leaders, culture shifters, and policymakers who are ready to meet this moment with bold and meaningful action. Our network is fluid, allowing coalitions to develop around different work, and allies to lean in, learn and grow based upon their capacities and interests.

  • One such coalition stewarded a global process to co-create a set of Imperatives for Economic System Change that give our community network of allies greater coherence and power.
  • Another is harnessing the power of culture to demand an economic RESET consistent with the Imperatives that delivers shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.
  • Another is transforming finance to manage systemic risk.
  • Another, UK21, is leading efforts to ensure the Imperatives and RESET are relevant in the UK, and inspiring other regions to do the same.
  • We expect coalitions will emerge to advance racial equity and to support leaders transforming their organizations to achieve a range of other objectives consistent with the Imperatives.

System change requires all of us. Let’s RESET. Together.


What’s different about Imperative 21?

We need system change, not just behavior change. Individual leadership is necessary but insufficient. Business and finance leaders who signal their commitment to balance “purpose and profit” and “lead for the benefit of all stakeholders” will have difficulty acting accordingly in a system with misaligned incentives and a culture with contrary norms. Imperative 21 addresses these challenges holistically and collaboratively to help leaders turn bold words into meaningful actions, transforming their organizations and the culture and system in which they operate.

Why do we need Imperative 21 now?

We’re at a moment of profound risk: Increasing divisiveness, eroding trust, declining belief in the capitalist system, increasing inequality, and accelerating climate risk — exacerbated by a global pandemic and its economic impacts — threaten business, democracy, society, and our planet. It’s no longer a question of whether or not we must transition to stakeholder capitalism; the only question is how.

How can engaging with Imperative 21 benefit my business?

According to JUST Capital, companies that lead in meeting the needs of all their stakeholders have outperformed the laggards by almost 30% over the past four years – and by double-digit margins throughout the pandemic. Their extensive polling has revealed substantial support for the stakeholder approach across political, demographic and economic lines, reinforcing the point that aligning business with the RESET will lead to greater support from workers, customers, investors, and policymakers.

What does Imperative 21 actually do?

The work of Imperative 21 is done through the allies and various coalitions within the network. The contribution of Imperative 21 — or more precisely of the network steward organizations and small shared executive team that supports them — is to bring together the disparate streams of credible activity among the allies into a mighty river through the  common narrative of a RESET and a holistic strategy anchored in co-created Imperatives for Economic System Change.

Individual organizations doing important work are necessary but insufficient. In unity, Imperative 21 network has the scale and credibility to drive this ambitious vision, recognizing the need to collaborate across organizations, sectors, perspectives, and approaches to drive change at enterprise, culture, and institutional levels. The existence of a unifying force in this diverse and often confusing ecosystem can help attract and strategically channel significant resources to help the narrative break through and to build capacity for the allies and various coalitions to advance their work at the scale and speed required to meet this moment.

Is Imperative 21 a global network?

It should be, but it is not yet a truly global network. While the networks of the founding organizations are comprised of more than 72,000 businesses across 80 countries,. most of the founding organizations are U.S. based. Imperative 21  is committed to building a global, cross-sector network via partners, like UK21, to lead efforts in regions across the globe consistent with the priorities appropriate to their context.

Let’s RESET. Together.

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