Leaders around the world increasingly recognize that GDP alone cannot give a full picture of a country’s performance. The well-being of citizens is an even more important measure. The Boston Consulting Group’s Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) is a powerful diagnostic designed to provide government leaders with a perspective onhow effectively their countries convert wealth, as measured by income levels, into well-being. But while the public sector is increasingly focused on well-being and how to enhance living standards, it has not been clear what role there is—if any—for the private sector.

Our research shows that the private sector can make crucial contributions to well-being. When scalable, sustainable solutions to social challenges emerge, we often see the private sector playing a central role. Such efforts go beyond corporations’ support for social or environmental causes that are unrelated to their primary business—often part of corporate social responsibility initiatives. Rather, companies can innovate within their core business models in a way that not only enhances shareholder value but also helps address important societal challenges.