What is a Lighthouse Project?

Economic Development and Integration.

Multistakeholder coalitions and alliances.

Closing the Competitiveness Gap Accelerators

An alliance that establishes national public-private collaborations to help countries close innovation ecosystem gaps for inclusive growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Building on the Forum’s Global Competitiveness reports, the initiative is a platform for action, offering playbooks and a global learning network. Accelerators are active in the Western Balkans and pilots are under development in South-East Asia and Southern Europe, each involving multiple relevant ministries and 100 of the largest employers in each country, including World Economic Forum members and their subsidiaries.

The initiative will engage 10 pioneer economies and five champion countries by the end of 2020. Additionally, findings are codified and exchanged dynamically through the Accelerators network and disseminated widely through the Forum’s Platform for the New Economy and Society. This aims to create a lasting global movement for systems change to close competitiveness gaps and deploy innovation policy for inclusive growth.

Shaping New Frontiers of Economic Policy

An initiative that brings together the world’s leading thinkers’ views on critical areas of national economic policy.

These include competition, fiscal, labour and social protection policy as well as socio-economic mobility measures.

The codified emerging policy trends and examples are shared through the Forum’s Platform for the New Economy and Society and its network of more than 140 Competitiveness Partner Institutes to create a global movement for systems change with governments, policy-makers and experts.

New Metrics Co-Lab

A data crowdsourcing initiative that invites leading companies to contribute their data for public good in areas such as improved measures of GDP, skills, the care economy, wages and other socio-economic factors.

The resulting picture of the new economy has been instrumental in catalysing actions and has been broadly shared through the Forum’s Platform for the New Economy and Society to specific policy-makers, businesses, universities and other stakeholders. The initiative will engage 10 companies for transformative use of data for inclusive growth by the end of 2020.

Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation

A leading public-private alliance delivering practical improvements in border administration and customs processing.

The Alliance brings together governments and businesses as partners to address delays and unnecessary red tape in the trade process and to design and deploy targeted reforms that deliver commercially quantifiable results. Active in a dozen countries and growing swiftly, the Alliance helps companies solve issues like import licencing, risk management and pre-arrival processing.

The Alliance – implemented by the World Economic Forum, the Centre for International Private Enterprise and the International Chamber of Commerce – builds on the local knowledge of several hundred companies and the funding support of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

An example of the Alliance’s impact comes from Colombia, where the Alliance worked with the National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute to focus physical inspections on priority shipments, eliminating 20,000 inspections and saving $8 million in the first 18 months of operation. By generating $29 in savings for every $1 spent, the project demonstrated how governments, aid organizations and business can work together to get things done faster, better and more reasonably.

Enabling E-Commerce

Initiative working to solve e-commerce challenges including digital payment, consumer protection and small parcel logistics.

A total of 76 countries launched negotiations on global rules for e-commerce at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019, bolstered by Enabling E-Commerce’s policy briefings and country pilots. Active in Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia, the initiative develops leadership communities, prioritizes and tackles local obstacles for e-commerce development and supports the progress of international rule-making.

Sustainable Investment Facilitation

Initiative that boosts the quantity and quality of foreign direct investment by helping investors secure reforms and deliver sustainable impact through local evidence-based reforms and by supporting movement towards an international agreement on new rules.

Local and international investors work through the initiative to highlight industry-relevant needs and share best practices for implementation. Support from Denmark and the Netherlands, together with backing from business, has allowed the initiative to shape change in West Africa and South Asia.

Cross-Border Data Flows

A project that aims to raise trust in the treatment and accessibility of data across international borders, building on the Japanese G20 Presidency’s Osaka Track.

The ability to move data across borders serves as the foundation of the global economy and is key to unlocking new and exciting societal benefits. Barriers to data transfers and requirements to localize data are, however, on the rise, threatening to diminish economic growth and limit positive social impact.

Jointly governed by business leaders and public officials, this project publicizes solution-oriented insight and best practices that can be used in domestic policies and international trade agreements with the aim of enabling reliable data flows while safeguarding local preferences.


Initiative exploring how emerging technologies are changing the face of international trade and investment by creating and developing partnerships to design the norms and policies for incorporating these technologies into trade.

Projects include using distributed ledger technology to improve data management at customs agency single windows, exploring 3D printing’s impact on supply chains, and identifying the governance framework needed for cross-border digital payment. These technologies have the potential to transform global trade but new conceptual approaches are needed to shape responsible innovation.

TradeTech provides the platform to bring together business and policy-makers to identify challenges and opportunities created by innovation with the aim of making global trade more efficient and inclusive.

Sustainable Markets Council (SMC)

A public-private network of leaders from industry, financial and public institutions that explores game-changing solutions and champions a movement towards prosperous economies that generate long-term value through the balanced integration of natural, social and financial capital.

The Council aims to support the building of sustainable markets while contributing to the rapid decarbonization of the global economy with initial areas of focus likely to include industry transitions in energy, aviation and transport and nature-based solutions in forests, fisheries and agriculture.

To advance these goals, the SMC nominates members with a track record within their own organizations and that advocate creative solutions to promote a dramatic shift in corporate business models; a reoriented, incentivized and mobilized financial system; and an enabling environment that attracts investment and incentivizes action.

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales established the SMC in September 2019 with the support of the World Economic Forum. Founding members include AstraZeneca, Bank of America, CCm Technologies, Convergence, DNB and Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening of the Financial System, Heathrow Airport, Meridiam, Roche Holdings, Rockefeller Capital Management and Royal DSM.

The Globalization, Tax and Competition Initiative

An initiative that provides the vital link between trade expertise and competition, tax and investment communities to enable coherent policy-making that reflects business realities and responds to societal needs.

The initiative pulls otherwise-siloed debates into broader economic context through structured dialogue on how tax and competition policies are adapting to digital globalization. Taking its lead from reforms led by the OECD, the work brings technical issues to a high-level audience and enables honest dialogue among diverse stakeholders on polarizing topics.

The Sustainable Development Investment Partnership

A partnership for SDG financing that connects agenda-shaping at the global level to support action in developing countries.

At the regional level, the SDIP addresses obstacles to unlock capital flows and improve resource allocation through its Africa and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hubs. At the local level, it supports countries to improve multistakeholder coordination and develop a holistic action plan to bridge the SDG financing gap through country financing roadmaps.

There is a persistent $2.5 trillion gap annually to meet the SDGs by 2030, but $17 trillion is currently invested in negative-yielding bonds. More than 40 public, philanthropic and private members of the SDIP – including banks, investment funds, pension funds, development finance institutions, foundations, governments and multilateral development banks – share the ambition of fixing this mismatch and creating conditions for capital to flow to where it is most needed.

Supported by the European Union, Denmark and Sweden, the platform, led jointly with the OECD, aims to facilitate systemic change in the development finance ecosystem.

Country Financing Roadmaps

An initiative that creates the environment for countries to bridge their SDG financing gap and drive their long-term competitiveness.

Through the establishment of a government-led multistakeholder coalition, the platform aims to help countries design and implement a holistic strategy to finance the SDGs. By integrating all actors throughout various stages of the investment value chain, it creates the conditions to attract new forms of capital and promote a pivot from the funding of just a few sustainability projects to a strategic, comprehensive and long-term financing approach for sustainable development.

Saint Lucia, the first country pilot, will serve as a prototype for Small Islands Developing States, while Ghana will be a demonstrative case for the African continent. This initiative turns into action the recommendations advanced by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development, the G20 Eminent Persons Group and the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Development Finance.

Company leadership in corporate global citizenship

EY – The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC)

A 30+ company initiative with EY as a driving partner along with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism; it promotes corporate long-term value creation and multistakeholder impact by focusing on metrics

EPIC is driven by the belief that companies and organizations are more likely to embrace “stakeholder capitalism” if they can better identify, measure and communicate the long-term value they create, inclusive of stakeholder impact. With the contribution of more than 30 global businesses, representing $30 trillion of assets under management and almost 2 million employees, the project brings together both market strength and diversity across the entire investment chain.

The goal of EPIC is to create systemic change by driving market consensus on what defines long-term value and how it is measured. It integrates modern data analytics and big data in the quest for new metrics. The findings and framework of EPIC were open-sourced in November 2018, and have since been referenced by the SEC as part of their study on Human Capital Management Coalition, and are used by EPIC-member institutions’ fund managers and companies to identify new long-term value metrics, as well as by EY to develop its new global strategy, NextWave.

EY and CIC plan to reconvene the EPIC companies in 2020 to report their progress on incorporating and progressing the approach and metrics. The learning of EPIC is also a base for EY’s contribution to the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council flagship 2020 project on measuring long-term stakeholder value.

KPMG – Responsible Tax Project

A project that was founded on the belief that a sustained, inclusive and productive conversation is needed to understand and negotiate the future of taxation – especially in an increasingly globalized, digitalized world.

The project began with a simple proposition: tax is the entry fee stakeholders pay for a civilized society. An issue of significant public interest, the tax debate sits at the epicentre of wider discussions on fairness, globalization, digitalization, equality and trust. The KPMG global network has proactively led diverse thinking and discussion in this space through this project.

It involves more than 1,300 voices, from academics and NGOs to businesses, activists and governments. These are perspectives that might not otherwise be found in the same room, let alone working productively together towards similar goals. This ability to bring together diverse thinkers is helping to reduce barriers and openly address tensions in the world of tax, by creating new channels for communications and engagement and calling for more purpose-driven approaches to policy.

In the past 18 months, the Responsible Tax effort has continued to expand its community base and advance its mission, including through the creation of inclusive in-person roundtables and events in Paris, Rome, Cancun, Nairobi, Copenhagen, Cape Town, London and Brussels; continued engagement of the community through our open online discussion forum, featuring blog articles by diverse authors (with 26 new posts in 2019) as well as video interviews; and the development of thought-provoking, multi-perspective publications, including, “What to Tax?” and the upcoming, “21st Century Responsible Tax and the Impact of Digitalization.”

Other stakeholders engaged in the project include the OECD, United Nations, World Bank, IMF, EU Commission, EU Parliament and the World Economic Forum, as well as collaboration with a range of NGOs and development organizations, including Oxfam, Action Aid, Christian Aid, TJN, Transparency International, CAFOD, ICRICT and CGD.

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