Enacting Purpose Initiative Report #2: Building on Common Ground to Advance Sustainable Capitalism

Written by

BCG BrightHouse

Jul 18, 2021 · 2-minute read

One of the most common questions business leaders and investors are grappling with today is how to enact corporate purpose within their organizations. That’s why, we are thrilled to share with you the second report from the Enacting Purpose Initiative: Directors & Investors: Building on Common Ground to Advance Sustainable Capitalism.

The first report from the Enacting Purpose Initiative, Enacting Purpose within the Modern Corporation: A Framework for Board Directors, was published in 2020. The second report builds upon that foundation by setting out how directors can work with their investors to leverage corporate purpose to address societal issues and sustain long-term value creation. It includes case studies and best practices on how boards can take ownership in their role in corporate purpose and move towards action.

The insights in this report are informed by extensive dialogue with over 35 board members across at least 17 different industries and over 30 global investors and asset owners and managers representing over $13 trillion in assets under management. Together with the steering groups and the Saïd Business School at University of Oxford, The Business in Society Institute at Berkley Law – University of California, EOS at Federated Hermes, The British Academy, and BCG BrightHouse, we are excited to provide you with a resource for enacting corporate purpose within organizations.

Here are some of the key points of the paper:

  • There continues to be a growing focus on corporate purpose across all stakeholders, including boards, investors, consumers, and employees. They want to know what their company’s corporate purpose is and how it is being operationalized to account for their impact on society and the environment.
  • Based on insights from over 65 investors and directors, this report provides a playbook for how to enact corporate purpose within organizations to make the impact stakeholders are demanding.
  • The report can serve as a practical resource for leaders to enact corporate purpose within their organizations. This includes five key areas on how boards can:
    1. Take ownership in their role in corporate purpose
    2. Ensure they are informed about the impact of the company’s operations on stakeholders
    3. Connect corporate purpose to Board decision-making
    4. Govern purpose and distinguish it from ESG
    5. Communicate with investors on corporate purpose
  • We were pleased to find that there is common ground between investors and directors on how to enact and leverage corporate purpose to collaboratively and profitably address societal and environmental impacts of their companies.

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