The private sector arguably plays a critical role in addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene and providing potential solutions to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, a myriad of new actors in the form of intermediaries, initiatives and organisations have started driving wider systems change by advocating and advising companies to reconsider and broaden their fundamental ‘raison d’être’. In this Perspective we argue that the emergence of this ‘purpose ecosystem’ could play an important function within earth system governance, specifically by endorsing and accelerating action aligned with achieving the UN SDGs; yet we also highlight a number of risks, barriers and critical considerations for its overall assessment and propose important questions for further research.
- Earth system governance
- Private sector
- Purpose ecosystem
- Purpose-driven business
- UN sustainable development goals