Principles of purposeful business: illustrative examples

by Charles Ebert and Victoria Hurth

26 Aug 2022
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
46 (pp. 163-207)

Abstract: In this article, we identify examples of business practices currently or recently implemented that illustrate one or more of the Principles for Purposeful Business as defined by the British Academy’s Future of the Corporation programme in 2019. We draw on existing networks and sources to identify examples which are predominantly large publicly listed corporations where we feel some of the greatest challenges to adopting the principles are likely to be. The examples are drawn from companies which generally express a purpose, though their inclusion in this article does not mean the company is necessarily a ‘purposeful business’. We draw on insights from stakeholder interviews, academic writings, practitioner articles, company reports, press releases, and legal documents from government sources. Our findings illustrate some of the types of practices that may be required to implement the Principles for Purposeful Business. These descriptive examples can be taken as starting points for further exploration, analysis and research.

Keywords: Organisational purpose, purpose-driven, governance, regulation, corporate law, ownership structure, financing.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 10, supplementary issue 5 (Foundations of the Future of the Corporation programme report ‘Policy & Practice for Purposeful Business’).

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