Global Forum on Law Justice and Development
Generating Innovative Legal Solutions to Development Challenges

Human-Centered Business Model

A Holistic Approach for a New Model of Doing Business


The “Human-Centered Business Model” Project aims at developing and piloting an innovative, human-centered, model of doing business that considers social and environmental sustainability as corporate goals at par with profit.

The Project idea belongs from the recognition of several existing initiatives scattered all over the world that testify an increasing interest of the private sector for social and environmental issues, and it wants to develop an innovative way of doing business, available for voluntary adoption, to bridge the gap between the business forms that singularly seek to maximize profit and non-profit organizations or volunteer’s associations.

The overall objective of this project is a sustainable and more equitable model of doing business that will advance inter-generational and intra-generational equity as well as shared prosperity and inclusive economic growth. The project is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals n. 8 that promotes a « sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all ».

The internalization of social and environmental interests in the enterprise requires not only a new corporate governance structure but also a revision of financial instruments, fiscal treatment and procurement policies, to make the model economically sustainable. The project will be then developed around six “pillars”: (1) it will be firstly necessary to identify – among existing economic, social and environmentally sustainable policy goals, right-based principles largely agreed upon by the international community, and ethical principles – the Guiding Principles which must be fulfilled in order to be qualified as a “Human-Centered Enterprise” (HCE); these principles constitute a “minimum common denominator” of principles of immediate and/or progressive realization. The development of the Model will then require to work on the (2) legal framework and corporate governance through either the adaptation of existing legal entities or the introduction of new ones, depending on different legal, socio-economic and cultural environments. Furthermore, as the Model will not privilege profit maximization, it may not be appealing to traditional investors, therefore it will be necessary to identify (3) innovative financial mechanisms, through the development of new ones and/or through the adaptation of existing ones in order to attract also traditional investors. The (4) fiscal regime of the new business Model should also be consistent with the performances in terms of profitability, social and environmental sustainability and ‘wealth redistribution’ within the local community. The project will also cover both (5) corporate procurement policies and forms of preferred procurement, in respect of fair competition and principles of transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment. Finally, because of the impact on the local community, the Model should include innovative forms of interaction with stakeholders, as (6) capacity building and mentoring support.

The process will start with a worldwide inventory of relevant initiatives and identification of international good practices. The first draft will be validated through a consultation process with partners, stakeholders and experts. The Model will then be piloted at a country level, in partnership with governments of two or three Countries. The pilot will provide feedbacks to improve and refine the theoretical model.

The Model, as piloted and implemented, will be finally make available to policy makers/governments for voluntary adoption.


On Wednesday June 14, the Faculty of Law is holding a presentation of the project on the Human-Centered Business Model.

Resources & Publications

The share of the global population that follows one of the world’s major faiths is estimated at 75.05 per cent or 5,479,200,000 individuals2 out of a total of 7.3 billion.3 The moral and ethical principles that these religions preach seem very close to the secular common principles adopted by the international community over the last hundred years in the framework of international institutions throught their legal instruments like treaties, agreements, resolutions and declarations. This overlap must be examined.

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