3 Aug 2023

Embedding Purpose into Business

By Seismic
Photo of bridge

There is increasing evidence that organisations led by purpose and committed to improving their social and environmental performance are reaping business benefits. However, despite the growing recognition of the power of purpose, businesses often find it challenging to translate it from theory to practice. To harness the power of purpose, a business must first embed it into the fundamental values of the organisation.

When we think of purpose-led companies, brands like Patagonia, who’ve had a purpose-driven ethos from their inception, often come to mind. The reality is that any business can incorporate responsible and purposeful practices whilst addressing everyday business priorities.

The benefits purpose brings business

  • Reacting to consumer demand. A recent study found that 76% of people think businesses should have a legal responsibility to the planet and people while maximising profits. What’s more, a joint study by McKinsey and NielsenIQ found companies and products that make ESG-related claims have achieved disproportionate growth.
  • Attract investors. More investors are considering purposeful agendas and ESG when making investment decisions. An Interbrand study found that purposeful brands, set on improving our quality of life, outperform the stock market by 120%.
  • Attract and retain talent. 70% of employees now demand purposeful work. According to a 2021 McKinsey study, these purpose-driven employees are six times more likely to stay at the company.
  • Improved company resilience. Businesses acting with purpose are proven to be more resilient, with solid ESG practices resulting in better operational performance.
  • Leave a legacy. The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report revealed that 89% of people believe CEOs should take a public stand on the treatment of employees and 82% believe CEOs should take a stand on climate change. Building a company that makes a positive difference is vital to leaving a lasting legacy. 

Our top tips for successfully embedding purpose into your organisation

1. Equip your team to embed responsible values and purpose

Ensure your team has the necessary tools to embed responsible values into your organisation. This can be achieved through team training, allocating resources, and making time to demonstrate that purposeful action is an essential aspect of every individual’s role. 

A great example of this is Sipsmith, who established an interdepartmental team called “Kaizen” to lead and unite their purpose agenda tied to achieve B Corp certification. Following their certification, Sipsmith introduced “Kaizen 2.0,” a team dedicated to continuous improvement and keeping purpose at the forefront of operations.

2. Keep track of your performance

Incorporate different ways to keep track of your performance. As a company, put these performance values into your company’s scorecard. Purpose-driven goals can be introduced into individuals’ performance reviews and bonuses. This creates various ways to hold everyone to account, by reiterating to your team that we are all responsible for prioritising purpose.

At innocent drinks, everyone helps contribute to being a force for good. The company created four purpose-driven roles – agitator, ambassador, activator and protector – and each team member adds one role to their objectives for the year.

Client spotlight: Avon

Avon has been prioritising positive change for women for 135 years, with purpose built right into their DNA. They are now taking the natural step to embrace B Corp and the framework it provides for the strongest ESG strategy.

Seismic is managing the B Corp scoping process to ensure the right information across Avon’s global facilities is collected. For large global companies like Avon, documenting everything is essential to measure impact. B Corp provides a valuable framework to capture this and implement meaningful change.

Read Avon’s story


3. Celebrate purposeful achievements

Share your progress and celebrate your achievements regularly to keep everyone engaged and committed to the purpose. Transparency is crucial, and waiting to achieve your goals before you announce them isn’t sufficient. Acting with purpose is a continuous process of progress and growth.

For example, Lily’s Kitchen celebrates the year’s successes in its annual Impact Report. But even more, they maintain transparency by revisiting what they set out to accomplish within the year, how they performed and their goals for the upcoming year, fostering a culture of accountability and transparency.

4. Existing tools and frameworks are there for support

Set targets and goals using an existing framework, e.g.

  • You could align your goals with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Set Science Based Targets with a clear roadmap of how to reach them.
  • Use the B Impact Assessment (BIA) – an online tool for businesses seeking B Corp Certification that can be used as a framework to improve your impact. Free for businesses to use, the BIA allows you to identify what you could and should be measuring as a business, and how you do it.

To embed purpose, and successfully move it from idea to action, companies need a clear plan and a strong commitment from all management levels. Given the benefits of truly embedded purpose, companies who start their journey today will be future-proofing their business, assuring greater successes tomorrow.

Seismic as your partner for change

We partner with organisations to help change society for the better. We help bring your ESG strategy to life, engaging your employees, customers and investors as you become an increasingly impactful force for good. Get in touch to find out how we can help you to make an impact.