Dr. James Mwangi has joined a league of 14 global CEOs who have committed to champion cross–sector collaboration in the creation of a purpose-first economy.
In a global call to action, the letter signed by the signatories outlines their vision for a new global economy that is more equal, inclusive and sustainable; an economy that is more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and many other global challenges that the world is facing.
The CEOs’ open letter has been endorsed by the UN Secretary General António Guterres, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, and OECD Development Co-operation Director Jorge Moreira da Silva, among others.
Dr. Mwangi joined the CEOs of Mastercard, Fortune Media, Mahindra, Interface, Voyager, Danone, DSM, Philips, L’Oréal, International Chamber of Commerce, Ketchum PR, Natura & Co. and Beiersdorf in calling on businesses, governments and development actors to join them in accelerating the transition towards an inclusive, resilient, sustainable economy that recognizes and enables purpose-first businesses to thrive.
“Rather than ‘build it back’, we are choosing to ‘build it better’,” states the joint signatories in the commitment letter. They have also called on global leaders to join them, “We commit to playing our role in supporting the growth of the purpose-first economy and we urge you to join us.” The letter says that purpose-first enterprises will constitute the fourth economy at the intersection of the three traditional economies: the private, public and non-profit sectors.
The global corporate leaders represent a combined annual revenue of over $100 billion USD and a combined global workforce of over 500,000. They have proposed a roadmap to “build the economic system better,” after COVID-19, rather than simply “building it back.”
In signing the letter, Dr. Mwangi stated that, “The current state of the world economy, as evidenced by the inequality revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has left business leaders with only one choice; the choice to recognize that the world system only works for a few and not the majority of the world’s population. This demonstrates that the economic and social system we have relied on is broken. We must, as a cohesive stakeholder community of leaders, address this inequality and serve humanity in a more productive and concerted way.”
Dr. Mwangi added “We are honored that Equity’s business model of inclusion, high volume, low margin and a purpose of transforming lives, giving dignity and expanding opportunities for wealth creation is well aligned with the call for a purpose-first economy.
The model was recognized by the Global Vision Award in 2007 as an “initiator of the concept of the future that will shape the world economy”, and affirmed by the 2020 Oslo Business Award for Peace as a business worthy initiative that ethically creates economic and societal value. We are committed to continue championing a purpose-first business model in partnership with all stakeholders.”
Dr. Mwangi joins other leaders in calling upon governments, corporates and the UN system to create new policies and incentives to spur sustainable and inclusive economic growth, yielding a healthy society within planetary boundaries, for generations to come.
Prior to signing the open letter, the signatory CEOs worked with the Leaders on Purpose team that comprises experts from Harvard University, Unilever, The World Bank, and The London School of Economics on a White Paper focused on purpose driven businesses that will be released at the 3rd Annual Leaders on Purpose CEO Summit taking place on the sidelines of the 2020 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Dr. Mwangi will play an integral role in this year’s global virtual event, serving as Co-Chair and panelist in discussions on how to create a purpose-first economy. The outcome document of the summit will be presented to world leaders at this year’s November G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia, and to the leaders attending the Davos World Economic Forum gathering in 2021. The initiative will be carried forward into other global forums throughout the coming years.
Dr. Mwangi said, “It is an honor to join other like-minded leaders at this trying time when we need to come together to reset and champion the structural rebuilding of the world by improving equality, financial, social, economic and digital inclusion, and people’s dignity.
Business leaders have a central role to play in how the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis. It is my hope that more leaders will sign the global call to action and join hands in creating a purpose-first economy. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that our global system needs an overhaul.
No business can thrive in a failed environment and it is incumbent on us to partner with all stakeholders if we are to be successful in reimagining and addressing market failures in the world. I look forward to working with my fellow CEOs, government leaders, development organizations/agencies, United Nations, the private sector and civil society to make the world a much better place for humanity.”