Across the world, regulators, industry and public interest groups are struggling to identify alternative, more sustainable models of doing business. This quest is supported by a wealth of entrepreneurial practices, initiatives and ‘experiments’ aiming to address these specific concerns.

Many entrepreneurs are voluntarily moving towards a more sustainable way of doing business, as an answer to a growing market of buyers, consumers and responsible investors more and more sensitive to the impact of business on the social and natural environment in which they operate.

Developed within the knowledge sharing and co-generating initiative called Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development, with the intellectual contribution of experts from over 46 institutions, the Human-Centred Business Model is a work in progress waiting to be tested at national or subnational level.

The concept of the Human-Centred Business Model (HCBM) derives from the conclusion that an entirely new business ecosystem is needed for entrepreneurs sensitive to the social, ethical and environmental impact of their activities who wish to run an economically sustainable business.

The Model seeks to create an alternative approach to doing business that combines – on an equal level of importance – profit-seeking with ethical/integrity, social and environmental sustainability objectives (including, for example, notions of decent work, respect for territorial and local community, integrity, sustainable environmental impact, and attention to inheritance issues for future generations). The HCBM shifts social and environmental interests from ‘tertiary’ or ‘external’ interests considered solely through a lens of increasing profit, to primary corporate goals that stand alongside the drive for profit. In compliance with their administrative duties, managers of a HCBM business will have to strive also for its social and environmental impact. The Model will provide an additional way to bridge the gaps in the spectrum of business forms, from profit-maximizing enterprises on one side to not-for-profit organizations or volunteer associations on the other, passing through the above-mentioned possible other forms.

The Project seeks to create a practical business model that provides a real choice for entrepreneurs who are looking for an opportunity to conduct their enterprises in a sustainable manner, while contributing to the achievement of SDGs.

The Human-Centred Business Model aims at developing an innovative – human-centred – model of sustainable business based on a common set of economic, social, environmental and ethical/integrity principles.

The Model takes a holistic approach, offering a detailed options and guidance on relevant processes and procedures, addressing the entire context needed for a sustainable and competitive ‘business ecosystem’, including fiscal, financial, legal and regulatory regimes, procurement conditions, and stakeholders engagement, to ensure that Human-Centred Enterpriseswill not be at a disadvantage on the free market.

The Model’s framework is built with substantial flexibility to allow it to be tailored to specific circumstances in both developed and developing countries, with solutions tailored also to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Currently the project is coordinated by the OECD Development Centre, with leading partners in charge of each of the project Pillars