Corporate Purpose: An Emerging Approach to Corporate Sustainability

Corporate Purpose


Impact: This chapter presents a literature review of an emerging research agenda, the ‘Corporate Purpose’, as a tool to solve today’s corporations and for-profit challenges to define the future of the corporation. The Corporate Purpose of a company is simply its reason for being. It defines why it exists and the impactful contribution it intends to make to society (Mayer, Principles for purposeful business: how to deliver the framework for the future of the corporation: an agenda for business in the 2020s and beyond. British Academy Future of the Corporation Programme, London, 2019a). It is an avenue to assist institutional transformation to transcend the flaws of capitalism and crisis to create more sustainable and regenerative businesses and economies. This review reveals four major antecedents of the Corporate Purpose phenomenon: inequality and distrust, technological challenges, intangible nature of companies and environmental degradation. It also distinguishes three types of drivers behind a corporation’s shift to adopt a Corporate Purpose: regulatory, business and leadership.