Partnership-Driven Business Models for Sustainably Driven COVID-19 Recovery in Decade of Action and Delivery

The P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030) initiative brings together businesses, governments and civil society to create a scalable delivery model to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth through a network of 12 partner countries and six international organizations.

The initiative, which began just over two years ago, invests in public-private partnerships building solutions for food and agriculture, water, energy, cities, and the circular economy. Through these partnerships and market-based solutions, P4G helps countries meet their climate action targets and the global Sustainable Development Goals. Now with over 50 partnerships in its portfolio after just two years, P4G is proving the impact of the partnership-driven approach in this decade of action and delivery. 

Its 2020 Scale-Up Partnerships, announced earlier this month, provide especially diverse pathways for green economic delivery and sustainably-driven COVID-19 recovery. These partnerships will receive up to $1,000,000 each in funding and P4G’s wide range of acceleration supports to help them achieve their goals. 

P4G Global Director

In the picture: Ian de Cruz. Photo Credit: P4G

Ian de Cruz, P4G Global Director, reflects on the impact of the initiative and how these nine new Scale-Up Partnerships are building on an emerging pipeline to drive new business and finance models for sustainable development:

What is P4G and why is it important now?

Ian de Cruz: P4G is a disruptor. We are building market-based solutions for sustainable development that will grow to become self-funding, self-sustaining business models that can transform the way the global economy functions. 

By taking partnerships from their beginning stages – either in start-up or scale-up – we guide them on a path of acceleration through our advisory services, natural synergies, and knowledge-sharing opportunities that arise from our now 50+ partnership portfolio, through to the value-add of our P4G extended network.

This is where the venture-capital approach comes in: our global network of partners in business and government come in looking to identify investment opportunities for the partnerships so their models can grow from regional to national to global; and their concrete market-based solutions can span sectors and industries.

We are at the very start of a decade in which we must deliver and act upon the Sustainable Development Goals – and to be hit with a pandemic is a foreboding reality that illustrates just how much work we have to do to secure the social and environmental well-being of our global community.

As businesses and systems around the world search for ways to transform for years to come, P4G provides a unique approach to reimagine capitalism and multilateralism. We’re all about business models that work for everyone – for communities, for the economy, for the environment. Now, we have 50+ partnerships in our portfolio offering a range of options in multiple contexts to make resilient transformation happen. 

2018 P4G Copenhagen Summit.

In the picture: Sustainability leader Gro Harlem Brundtland speaks with young innovators for green growth at the 2018 P4G Copenhagen Summit. The next P4G Summit will be hosted by the Republic of Korea, in Seoul, in 2021. Photo Credit: P4G

What does P4G look for in its partnerships?

I.d.C. : The key is innovation. We want partnerships that will transform systems – quickly – and will show up to solve challenges and deliver results. Another important element of a P4G partnership is that instead of starting with stakeholders and identifying what each player is capable of, P4G partnerships begin with a solution — one that already has strong private sector and investor engagement — and then engage everyone involved to contribute at their highest possible capacity.

We call the people driving P4G partnerships “pioneers” because each person brings to the project a mindset that their partnership is looking to transform systems and potentially entire global demand and supply chains. Collaboration between leaders and across sectors and organizations is critical – because together, our partnership communities transform their collective purpose into market-based solutions for green growth.

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What do the 2020 P4G Scale-Up Partnerships bring to the green economy?

I.d.C. : First, while forced to be entirely reactional, these partnerships are already proving themselves as critical change agents in the time of COVID-19. Each of these partnerships has identified how to integrate their green growth models with plans for economic recovery from the pandemic: making it clear that sustainable economies are also inclusive economies. 

For instance, the IIX Women’s Livelihood Bond Series partnership will mobilize up to $30 million in capital to empower over half a million women in Asia and Africa. Women make up 70% of frontline workers and 66% of the agricultural supply chains – and the virus has exacerbated the need for their contributions while also emphasizing the lack of investment that prevents their full participation across critical global sectors.

The partnership builds an investment portfolio listed on a stock exchange that will afford thousands of women the capital to be economic agents of change to deliver solutions in critical sectors such as agriculture, health care, energy, technology, and more.  

Additionally, and for the first time, we are seeing former P4G Start-Up Partnerships – which are at the incubation stage but not yet prepared to replicate solutions — and winners of our State-of-the-Art Award reinvest their energy in the P4G partnership pipeline by applying for – and being selected to receive – scale-up level funding. This is especially exciting to us because internally, P4G has been refining and defining our business model since our inception in 2018. Now we see that not only has our business model come to life, but our network and our partnerships trust that the P4G approach is what is going to make the difference, and provide the investment pipeline and rapid transformation we are all pursuing.

P4G Partnerships in Action

In the picture: P4G Partnerships in Action: P4G hosts acceleration workshops for its partnerships on the sidelines of UN Climate Week in New York in 2019. Photo Credit: P4G

How do these partnerships illustrate the future of our global economy?

I.d.C. : These 2020 Scale-Up Partnerships – many of which come from past P4G relationships – and our track record as an initiative have shown that when P4G commits to a partnership, we are committing to a lifelong learning journey that extends far beyond our funding period.

We are preparing for our upcoming P4G Seoul Summit in 2021, where these partnerships will have the opportunity to share their solutions on the global stage and prove how the P4G model – applied in diverse ways – can emerge from niche to universal, and build a pathway for green growth. The Summit will be uniquely positioned ahead of COP26 to provide tangible examples of how countries can achieve their climate targets and through the collective power of emerging economies. 

Within this context, we even see the global understanding of and approach to capitalism changing and becoming a multilateral – instead of a singular – endeavor. We are better together.

For more information about P4G, visit the P4G website and subscribe to the initiative’s monthly newsletter.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own, not those of

About the Author /

P4G – Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 – invests in over 50 public-private partnerships with projects in developing countries. P4G is a collaborative partnership among 12 partner countries: Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, South Africa and Vietnam. P4G is funded by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands and hosted at the World Resources Institute. Other partner organizations include C40 Cities, Global Green Growth Institute, International Finance Corporation, United Nations Global Compact and the World Economic Forum.

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