Inclusive Growth and Development

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Across the world, growth and productivity have slowed while many of the world’s citizens face rising levels of inequality and insecurity. This is having real consequences as electorates push back against what they see as growth-at-all-costs and unfair globalisation. World Economic Forum members from various industries – food and beverage, healthcare, finance, professional services – that are leaders in their respective sectors have signalled a need to act. Not only is rising inequality and social instability bad for business, but it has led to an erosion of the private sector’s “licence to operate” in society. In short, a deeply held corporate concern is that the current economic model is unsustainable. Companies from the aforementioned sectors are asking for tools and resources to help them adapt to the changing social and business climate. No comprehensive approach currently exists to quantify the social and economic impact of companies in various industries and diagnose investment opportunities to improve this performance. What needs to change?

"GrowInclusive” – a virtual, interactive platform – will provide concrete solutions to drive change by providing a one-stop-shop to make global business and policy practices more transparent, inclusive and sustainable. For example, a food and beverage company looking to improve its social and development footprint will find answers from sourcing to distribution, where they have been pioneered successfully before and how partnerships and policies can complement this effort. Further, and crucially, it can evaluate its social and economic impact performance against the sector benchmark and demonstrate progress by addressing and attracting investment into performance bottlenecks.

In partnership with the World Bank, IDRC and BMZ, this project will: 1) highlight where the $2.5 trillion shortfall in finance for the Sustainable Development Goal agenda can generate high social and financial returns; and 2) guide companies and public sector leaders interested in reversing the global backlash against existing practices to practical, actionable steps that will shift the paradigm of our economic system toward broad-based prosperity for all.


This project will accelerate the adoption of innovative and inclusive public policies and business strategies to solve societal challenges, thereby facilitating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs).

Doing so will unlock the following barriers:

  • Lack of experience and information on how best to overcome constraints to inclusive growth

  • Opaque global value chains: high complexity of global value chains, which obscure the concentration of social gains and opportunities for high-impact investments

  • Lack of simple, universal metrics and of a common language to measure and address social and business challenges along value chains. Instead, there are many tools and different organisations use different tools

  • Coordination failures in identifying creative partnerships bringing together different industries and other actors