Five ways to introduce a social or environmental mission into your business

Looking to introduce a social or environmental mission into your existing business? Here are five ways that may kick-start your purpose-led business.

1. ESTABLISH YOUR VALUES

Start with Why! “Values are the foundation of any company’s culture,” says Patagonia’s Rick Ridgeway. “What are your beliefs? What are the attitudes that you bring to your business? How do you treat people, how do you treat the planet in a wider context?”

2. FORMALISE YOUR PURPOSE AND SET GOALS

A company’s purpose should live longer than the original founder that established it. Write a binding document establishing what you want to achieve and by when. “We have 50-plus, time-bound targets in [our] plan we are committed to,” says Unilever’s Karen Hamilton.

3. DITCH YOUR CSR DEPARTMENT

“Purpose can’t possibly sit within a corporate social responsibility team. It’s about your HR department, your supply chain, your product, your local community,” says B-Lab UK’s Kate Sandle. Make your purpose central to the company culture and everything you do.

4. LISTEN TO DIVERSE VOICES

When communicating, “try and use different people, faces, voices and abilities,” says 4Creative’s Alice Tonge. Involve as many people as you can in the creative process and listen to their reactions. “If it scares you it’s a good thing because it means you’re pushing the boundaries.”

5. STRIVE FOR MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

While changing the conversation is a worthy goal, aim for impact you can measure. “It’s about having something tangible,” says Hamilton. “At the same time, a lot of big issues like climate change are systemic, so there we try and work with others.”

If this has started a conversation with your company, then let’s continue it today. Contact us today to see how we can help you become a purpose-led business that puts people and planet ahead of profit.

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