New report on alternatives to profit-primacy business models

22 January 2020 / IKnowFood

Today, 22 January, the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) launch a major new report on mission-primacy business models, the alternative to profit-primacy models, which attempts to capture the hope and opportunity that is already emerging. Here’s a short video summarising it:

The report “Creating the New Economy: Business models that put people and planet first” is co-authored by Erinch Sahan from the WFTO, Prof. Bob Doherty from IKnowFood/University of York, Prof. Helen Haugh from University of Cambridge and Tom Wills from Traidcraft Exchange.


The report, video and case studies are all available here:

Based on new research, the report uncovers new insights from across the WFTO community of social enterprises. These enterprises practice Fair Trade holistically across their business, reinvest the majority of their profits in their social mission and deploy mission-primacy in their governance. Built to make management and investment decisions to favour workers, farmers and artisans, the report finds they can work in some of the most challenging contexts, and drive ecological practices that protect our planet. They also prove this business model can be more resilient and foster innovation.

Key insights about Fair Trade Enterprises include:

  • 92 per cent reinvest all profits in their social mission
  • 52 per cent are led by women
  • 4 times less likely to go bankrupt
  • 85 per cent report actively sacrificing financial goals to pursue social or environmental goals, while retaining commercial viability.

The report report is being launched at an UNCTAD event on 22 January 2020, as world leaders gather in Davos. The focus of the World Economic Forum 2020 is ‘stakeholder capitalism’. Our mission-led models of enterprise have already pioneered the most inclusive version of this idea. I hope our proof-of-concept can help shape these ideas.

The WFTO is a community pioneering a big idea of what the business world could become. This report is their best attempt to date at credibly making the case. Please help us share the report, video and the ideas! Join the #Business Revolution.