Fourth Sector Organizations

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= The defining characteristic of all Fourth Sector organizations is that they integrate social and environmental aims with business approaches. [1]


"Some Fourth Sector organizations go further by embodying features like inclusive governance, transparent reporting, fair compensation, environmental responsibility, community service, and contribution of profits to the common good.

As the Fourth Sector expands and becomes more formalized, there is a need to better clarify its boundaries. To that end, a range of efforts are underway to define the criteria for the archetypal Fourth Sector organization, which is referred to as the “For-Benefit” organization or corporation.

As broad consensus builds around the definition of the For-Benefit archetype, it will become easier for those involved in developing various elements of the support ecosystem for the Fourth Sector – financial markets, legal forms, technical assistance, assessment and reporting standards, etc. – to focus and integrate their efforts. This will in turn create a more conducive environment for the growth and maturation of Fourth Sector organizations." (

More Information

See: For-Benefit Corporations