Explainer: How does corporate purpose drive sustainable growth?

Amid fresh debates about what corporate purpose should be, there is mounting evidence that corporate purpose leads to stronger brand reputation, better talent attraction and more resilience, leading to improved financial performance.

Against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown due to inflation, pandemic aftershocks and geopolitical tensions, corporate purpose seems to be losing its lustre. 

International conglomerates have started to backtrack on their previously articulated corporate purpose – which has come to be associated with the value a company produces for all stakeholders, beyond shareholders.

Notably, the boss of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock announced last year that he intends to cease the use of “ESG” (environmental, social and governance), a term that has become increasingly politicised in the United States. Unilever’s disappointing share price performance over the past year has prompted its new chief executive to dismiss corporate purpose as an “unwelcome distraction” for some brands.

There is mounting evidence, however, that purpose-driven companies benefit from stronger brand reputation, better talent attraction and employee engagement, and greater resilience, leading to improved market performance. In this explainer video, we explore Singapore-based non-profit National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)’s national framework and blueprint for businesses to integrate corporate purpose into their business practices across the five impact areas of people, society, governance, environment and economic.

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