30 Sep 2022

Building your company’s mission through the B Corp lens

By Olivia Hill
A truly embedded company mission has untold benefits for a business. Getting it right involves understanding your ‘why’, articulating it, and successfully embedding it. The proven benefits include company growth, talent retention and brand loyalty. So what’s involved, and how do you do it properly?  

What does it mean to have a company mission?

We define a company mission as your WHY.

Simon Synek quote

One of the most compelling reasons to have a ‘why’ is that it truly gives a company purpose. Ensuring social and environmental impact is considered in that ‘why’ will mean your sustainability strategy sits at the core of your business.

“Investing in your values gives you a really strong north star – so that you can use it as a benchmark to evaluate strategic direction. A strong mission can give you a really strong company culture that can drive you forward.”

Andy Schmidt, Cofounder and Chief Community Officer, Seismic

Let’s look at some examples of powerful company missions

Patagonia… We’re in business to save our home planet

Our client Patagonia recently announced that their company profits will go towards charitable initiatives to help our planet. This is an example of their mission statement in action.

Seismic… Our mission is to enable companies to prosper by helping them become a force for good.

We’ve spent a lot of time identifying and embedding our mission at Seismic. We help our clients create outstanding business value by improving and communicating their environmental and social performance.

Piper… the investor-partner of choice for founders building brand legends that make people’s lives healthier, happier and more fulfilling, while helping them minimise their impact on the environment.

Piper Private Equity work to improve the businesses they invest in. Social and sustainable impact sits at the heart of this approach and runs through everything they do.

Companies like Patagonia and Piper are constantly looking for ways to accelerate their mission, truly embedding it in their organisations.

How can B Corp build your company mission?

We find that B Corp is an ideal framework to help inform and embed your mission. It is a rigorous standard and certification for environmental and social impact that holds companies to account. We use it irrespective of certification as we are convinced the B Corp framework is one of the most comprehensive and compelling roadmaps out there to develop your ESG strategy. Read more from our other about how B2B businesses are embracing the B Corp framework.

“You know purpose is truly embedded in an organisation when you see a mission starting to show up in things like job descriptions, individual progress reviews, or bonus performance. B Corp gives you the framework to make this happen.”

Andy Schmidt

4 steps to refresh your company mission

At Seismic we adopt a 4 step approach to building a sustainability mission:

  1. Complete the B Corp Assessment alongside a Materiality Assessment
    This helps an organisation to challenge their assumptions by questioning their stakeholders on the issues that are important to them.
  2. Engage the whole leadership team
    This has a two-fold benefit, firstly engaging the leadership team to cascade it through the business. Secondly it assesses where their business priorities and ESG prioritise overlap and identifies any perceived barriers that might exist to address them.
  3. Dream big
    Encourage people not to get hung up on what is not possible, rather focus on the change they want to see in the world, and how their business can drive that change.
  4. Hold an in-person mission building clinic
    Feedback is crucial when bringing an organising together to commit to your ‘why’.

Case Study – Pukka Herbs


How Pukka established and embedded their purpose and mission

Pukka’s purpose is to nurture healthier, happier lives through powerful organic plants.

They are a shining example of an organisation using business as a force for good. They do this across everything they do – but this purpose took them time to develop and a conscious effort to embed. We caught up with Georgia Phillips, Impact Lead at Pukka Herbs, on how they achieved this.

Pukka’s sustainability mission was at its heart from the outset. The company was created by the two founders Tim Weswell and Sebastian Pole; Tim posted an advert in a regional magazine asking for someone to work with him on herbal organics. Sebastian replied having worked on organics in India. They met, hit it off, and Pukka was born. That original mission, to help people feel healthier and happier through powerful organic plants, was embedded from day one.

B Corp has become a central part of their efforts, as they grow as a business and continue to accelerate their mission. “The fact that we had a mission led approach at the beginning helped in securing B Corp certification straight away. The word Pukka was inspired by the hindi word which means ‘authentic’. This authenticity is crucial to our brand.” says Georgia.

The journey to an articulated mission

“We only defined our purpose statement three years ago. We had a mission statement but had received feedback that people didn’t fully understand it. So we felt it needed more work. We created a dashboard of our KPIs – which started at 300 – and I was given this list as a starting point. It was clear we had too broad a remit, and narrowing down 9 words to describe it would give the business a really clear strategy. We ran a 6 month project – with individuals across Pukka – coming together to discuss our why. It was a big piece of work to make those 9 words!”

3 key things this piece of work has impacted in the business

  1. Net Zero
  2. Advocacy
  3. Impact Comms

“Being able to communicate with our Comms team with clarity and with an authentic story has been so valuable – and they’ve just grabbed it and done such creative and wonderful things with it – which has given permission to our other teams to talk about Pukka in this way.” concludes Georgia.

Want to refresh your mission?

Seismic works with numerous organisations to develop and embed their Mission and Values. We workshop the mission to articulate and communicate it, and use the robust B Corp framework to plan a roadmap to deliver it. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can help you build your mission.