Business for Purpose Network (B4PN) Weekly Announcement.

4 min readMay 20, 2021


Update #26 — May 21, 2021

1.0 GOVERNANCE. Purpose Governance is on the rise, and will be accelerated by institutional investors looking for progress in this area. This Institutional Investor Survey 2021 of investors with assets under management of USD 29 trillion (one-quarter of capital markets) reveals that investors expect companies to have and disclose a corporate purpose and that doing so is a driving force behind creating sustainable long-term value.

This report is authored by Morrow Sodali a leading provider of strategic advice and shareholder services to corporate clients. It references the report that B4PN Founding Member Coro Strandberg wrote for Governance Professionals of Canada on Purpose Governance last Fall. Nicely done Coro!

2.0 NEW RESOURCE. The Embedding Project “a global public-benefit research project that helps companies embed sustainability across their operations and decision-making” released their Position Database which reviewed over 4000 position statements from large global companies and features ~200 leading statements.

For example, the position statement for Morneau Shepell shows their focus on “The impact of workplace mental health on business” and interestingly this company just announced they are rebranding to LifeWorks “reflecting the company’s purpose of improving lives and business”. As the EAP program for MaRS, I’m happy to see this statement on the clarity of their purpose.

3.0 UPCOMING EVENT. It’s Time to Regenerate by Sustainable Brands. Billed as “the largest global event for purpose-driven leaders” Hold the date for SB’21 San Diego. You can plan to join virtually or in California (that would be nice) on October 18th — 21st to “leverage environmental and social challenges and build sustainable systems through regenerative business”. Trend watch: the term regenerative is popping up everywhere.

Download their brochure here.

4.0 PURPOSE-DRIVEN REAL ESTATE. This week R-LABS Canada, a partnership of corporations dedicated to delivering innovation in the real estate industry through purpose-driven company building, announced a new investment by Teranet to lead to the launch of new companies, expand the R-Labs platform capabilities in delivering innovation in the real estate industry.

“Together, R-LABS and Teranet are supporting the development of Canada as a centre for innovative real estate technology companies and entrepreneurs that focus on purpose-driven solutions. This partnership creates exciting opportunities for R-LABS, real estate industry stakeholders, and corporations across other industries that can help solve problems in real estate through open innovation and purpose-driven company building.”

Coming soon, MaRS will be announcing the 10 winners of the Mission from MaRS: Climate Action challenge and (spoiler) three of them are in the real estate space.

5.0 STAKEHOLDER CAPITALISM. Vivian Hunt from McKinsey offers these great tidbits in her latest, Who’s afraid of stakeholder capitalism? Fortune. May 16, 2021.

· The business case for stakeholder capitalism:

o It requires taking a long-term view and (based on McKinsey’s own research) those companies with a long-term view “outperformed the rest in earnings, revenue, investment, and job growth”.

o The same is true for those that have an explicit focus on ESG — “taking ESG into account not only addresses risk, it also creates healthy returns”.

o This focus also results in more engaged employees which results in more productive employees.

o And brand reputation is critical in order to secure top talent and capturing the value in intangibles.

· Stakeholder capital argues for decency and sees the interconnection between business and society (not us versus them).

· As we have discussed many times before expectations of CEOs are shifting as is the incentive system with 45% of FTSE 100 linking executive pay to ESG metrics.

Quote of the Week — “It starts with the belief system that we are in this for shared value not shareholder value.” Based on a balanced view of all the stakeholders and our ability to create enduring value for all of those stakeholders, in balance, including the environment.” It is a lens that “defines the future of capitalism and what the enterprise looks like 20 years from now.”

- Michael McCain in the Chatter That Matters Podcast speaking on Leadership, Transparency and Doing the Right Thing. May 14, 2021.

Enjoy the reading and enjoy the long week-end … on purpose!


What is the Business for Purpose Network? The B4PN is an initiative catalyzed by the JW McConnell Family Foundation and the MaRS Discovery District to help build a movement engaging companies to put purpose at the core of their work.

Past editions of the B4PN Weekly Announcements are available on LinkedIn and on Medium.

Interested in joining this movement? Please contact Allyson Hewitt, VP Impact at MaRS at to indicate your interest in this work, to join the mailing list or to unsubscribe. We’d also love your comments on anything you read here or to promote any relevant articles you would like to share with others.




CEO Enactus Canada. Past: VP, Impact MaRS. Lecturer MBET, U Waterloo. Thinker in Residence, Australia. Social entrepreneurship, Business for Purpose (B4PN)