Business for Purpose Network. Weekly Announcement #13 — February 19, 2021

4 min readFeb 19, 2021

The Business for Purpose Network (B4PN) is an initiative catalyzed by the JW McConnell Family Foundation and the MaRS Discovery District. Contact Allyson Hewitt, VP Impact at MaRS for more information or to join our mailing list Please indicate your preferred email and desire to join the mailing. Feel free to also forward to others or to invite them to join.

At the end of this Announcement I have offered a provocation. Would love to hear your feedback. B4PN Weekly Announcements past editions are also available on my LinkedIn page and on Medium.

1.0 UPDATES. The CEO of the Business Roundtable on the Statement of the Purpose of the Corporation. Josh Bolten talks about the impact of the statement’s update a year later (originally issued in August 2019) and how it has impacted corporate America since its release.

There was a lot of interest when this statement was released and yet some wondered how these leading CEO’s would manifest these newly revised principles. This article offers insight into their perspective, a year out.

· They believe stakeholder capitalism better reflects what CEOs do every day.

· They are trying to address the misrepresentation of American corporations only being run for profit.

· And they appreciate the debate — although you have the sense that this statement somehow got away from them. Here is the BRT CEO’s clarification of what that statement means.

“What’s intended is a reflection that corporations are well-situated and ought to be encouraged and incented to take care of their own employees, customers, suppliers and communities, along with their shareholders. That’s something different from: “Give me a bunch of your money, because I know what to do with it, I know what the societal good is.”

· He reflects how major corporations stepped in up during COVID and after the death of George Floyd, how they changed their lobby efforts from “tax cuts” to “sensible policing reform”

· And he closes on the “benefits of capitalism”.

They support their shareholders best by supporting all of their stakeholders. Increasing recognition of that, not just in the C-suites or in the corporate boardrooms, but throughout the country, is what’s going to help make American capitalism flourish for generations to come and prosper.

2.0 UPCOMING EVENTS. TODAY. Ryerson University’s Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility. Unpacking the “governance” part of ESG: In conversation with BMO’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Michael Torrance. Friday, February 19th from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Register here. This session is free but pre-registration is required.


· David Suzuki Foundation, a B4PN founding member organization, is seeking a Well-Being Economies Specialist.How the program works is to influence and transform the core economic model, it’s underlying values and beliefs from a framework in which people and Nature are in service of economic growth-to one. In which the actual aspirations of people and the flourishing of Nature are the core purpose of the economy”. This is a two-year contract based in Toronto but working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic

· Ben and Jerry’s Activism Manager. “The primary role of the Activism Manager is to translate Ben & Jerry’s progressive values into successful externally-focused activism campaigns that create impact and drive action. The Activism Manager will lead strategy development and execution under the direction of the Global Activism Manager, and will work closely with internal functions while managing a diverse set of external stakeholders and campaign partners. The Activism Manager for Canada will join a global team of Activism Managers and will provide vision and leadership within the Global Social Mission and Advocacy teams to ensure Ben & Jerry’s remains the most progressive, innovative, and impactful activist company”.

4.0 NEW PROGRAMS. These two companies have embraced the language of purpose and are using phrases like “authentically live their purpose” and “connect with all stakeholders on a genuine and trustworthy basis”. Given the challenges our society’s face, we are keen to see the outcomes their approach will achieve.

· Benevity Launches Impact Labs to Advance Corporate Purpose With Real Data, Research and Insights. …Announcing “Benevity Impact Labs, an incubator and resource hub bringing new data, research and insights to help companies, nonprofits and individuals maximize their impact and authentically live their purpose”.

· Purpose Worldwide Announces Official Launch. Firm Delivers Clients’ Success During a Time of Intense Uncertainty and Change, Proving the Power of Purpose-Led Communications to Drive Growth. The company’s mission is to help clients define, communicate and connect their purpose to growth through original marketing and public relations initiatives.

“Now more than ever, companies must find ways to connect with all stakeholders on a genuine and trustworthy basis to achieve their business goals.”

5.0 PRACTICAL ADVICE. Forbes (Feb 15, 2001) Releases this advice on How and Why Brands and Organizations Can Do Good by focusing on the “benefits of a purpose driven approach”. Their advice?

· Develop a do good strategy and commit to it

· Employee buy-in is a must

· Align your do good strategy with the causes you care about and your offerings

· Build out a calendar of key cultural and social events; and

· Doing good presents growth opportunities for junior staff

So what do you think? Do any of the efforts outlined above actually help us move beyond CSR to helping corporations put “purpose” at the core of their work?





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