When it comes to defining the purpose of a company, this simple question needs to be asked: Why are you doing this business? This is an essential question for any business, big or small. Becoming a leader in your industry is not the right answer (sorry!). That’s your vision. But it’s not your purpose.
A purpose-driven company stands for and takes action against something bigger than its products and services. It means setting the bar so high, that you won’t achieve it. However, it gives you a real reason to exist, to stand out, to work for something bigger than yourself.
In some countries, the regulatory framework allows companies to adopt a Mission-Aligned Governance. A governance that embeds a purpose beyond creating profit and requires directors to consider the impact of their actions on their stakeholders as well as their shareholders. For instance, a legal company structure is in place in the UK or France allowing companies to mention their purpose in the legal status.
“People do not buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Here is a selection of companies that believe business can be a force for good. So, let’s see how it reflects in their company purpose.
“We are in business to save our home planet. We aim to use the resources we have—our voice, our business, and our community—to do something about our climate crisis.”
Patagonia is a role model for the fashion industry. It is a US clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973. The employees are climate activists and just by looking at the website you’ll gain a sense of this.
“Our mission is to transform the fashion industry for a more sustainable future, by empowering our community of Fashion Activists to drive the change.”
Vestiaire Collective is an online marketplace to buy and sell authenticated pre-owned luxury fashion. Launched more than 10 years ago, it promotes circular fashion as an alternative to overproduction, overconsumption, and the wasteful practices of the fashion industry.
“Women forward. For a fairer future. To bring a positive impact to people and the planet. This is our purpose guiding all we do.”
Chloe is a French luxury fashion house founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion. The new creative director Gabriela Hearst promotes luxury with a conscience, or simply put, “honest luxury”.
The Body Shop
“We exist to fight for a fairer, more beautiful world.”
The Body Shop’s story started in Brighton, England in 1976. It began with the founder, Dame Anita Roddick, and her belief in something revolutionary: that business could be a force for good. The Body Shop is a British cosmetic, skincare, and perfume company.
“We unfold health and beauty in harmony with nature and the human being.”
Weleda is a multinational company that produces both beauty products and naturopathic medicines. Just by having a glance at the website, you’ll see how sustainability is embedded into the company’s DNA. And more importantly, the transparency by indicating the areas in which they “still have work to do”.
These companies give their employees a good reason to wake up each morning. You should not underestimate the power which lies within your purpose. It has an impact, internally and externally. You are setting the scene; you attract the right people. You get more genuine answers to the common hiring question: Why do you want to join us?
And guess what? All these brands have something in common: they are all B Corporation certified. Certified B-Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
If you want to learn more about the B-Corporation certification and how to become a purpose-driven company, let’s chat. I’d love to hear from you.