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Working Paper

The impact economy: balancing profit and impact

Governments and companies can reinforce each other in their pursuit of sustainable development, which is based on three pillars: economic, social and environmental. An impact economy, in which governments and companies balance profit and impact, is best placed to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals.

By: Date: July 7, 2020 Topic: Global economy and trade

How can governments and companies be jointly empowered to have a positive impact on the sustainable development goals? The current economic system is largely geared towards increasing economic growth. But this could come at the expense of rising social inequality and environmental degradation.

This paper examines the link between economic system outcomes and corporate sustainability outcomes. We provide evidence that governments and companies can reinforce each other in their pursuit of sustainable development. Sustainable development is based on three pillars: economic, social and environmental. These pillars should be assessed and balanced in an integrated way. An impact economy, in which governments and companies balance profit and impact, is best placed to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Recommended citation:
Schoenmaker, D. (2020) ‘The impact economy: balancing profit and impact’, Working Paper 2020/04, Bruegel

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