A Review of Corporate Purpose: An Approach to Action the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


A Review of Corporate Purpose


Impact: This journal article explores Corporate Purpose as an approach to action the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It achieves this objective by presenting a review of existing literature on Corporate Purpose and SDGs from the disciplines of business ethics, management studies, economics and psychology. The review showcases contributions exploring whether and how Corporate Purpose-led strategy facilitates the operationalization of the SDGs and proposes an emerging research agenda. This article employed an inductive approach methodology through grounded theory to develop a critical analysis of scientific evidence-based work for theory construction on Corporate Purpose. One of the major findings of this review is that to achieve the SDGs companies need to shift found from the “business as usual” approach, which perceives sustainability as an externality, to incorporating sustainability factors in the company’s underlying purpose. The article also (1) identifies trends in research outputs and reveals five major antecedents of the phenomenon (drivers to purpose), (2) identifies key gaps within the existing literature, (3) distinguishes three current approaches to Corporate Purpose and (4) elaborates on current theories of Corporate Purpose and SDGs linkages to identify opportunities and aid future research. In summary, this article unpacks Corporate Purpose mechanisms to action the SDGs and stimulates academic discussion of business transformational approaches to long-standing sustainability challenges