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Can People and Wellbeing Be Part of Your Sustainability Agenda?

By CHOYS Community
25 Sep 2023

In a world where climate change, social inequality, and ethical business practices are dominating the headlines, it's evident that the way companies operate is undergoing a significant transformation. Sustainability has become more than just a buzzword; it's a driving force reshaping industries and challenging businesses to redefine their purpose.

Give People a Purpose in Order to be Sustainable

Purpose isn't just a fancy statement in an annual report; it's the driving force behind every decision, every action, and every interaction. When everyone in an organisation shares this purpose, it becomes a part of the company's DNA, reflecting in how they serve customers, engage with communities, and attract talent.

And a company's purpose is its "why." It's the reason it exists beyond making profits. Purpose-driven organisations are on a mission to create meaningful, sustainable value in the market. They're resilient, adaptable, and always true to their core values.

Have you ever wondered why Steve Jobs achieved great success so early in his life?

It’s probably because he believed in people. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Steve made an impactful statement:

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people…”

There’s a lot one can learn from one of the most successful humans in history. Apart from his passion, his humility, and even his genius, what set Steve apart was the clarity of his purpose that he ensured was seeped into the roots of Apple Inc.

He cared about people and knew that their wellbeing could directly affect a business’s future.

Which is probably why in his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Steve inspired the young minds to find their purpose in life:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do…”

What Makes a Great Sustainability Purpose Statement?

A purpose statement isn't just a collection of words. It's a concise, powerful declaration of who you are and why you matter. It goes beyond profit motives and delves into how your core business activities positively impact society and the environment. A well-crafted purpose statement inspires, transcends time, and becomes synonymous with your organisation.

Ownership of Purpose

But here's the kicker: Purpose isn't the sole responsibility of the CEO or a dedicated sustainability team. It's a shared ownership, spread throughout the organisation across all departments. When everyone understands and lives this purpose, it shows in how you serve your customers, clients, communities, and employees.

Belief in Action

You'll know your purpose is genuine when it's echoed by all stakeholders, from clients to communities. It's a part of what attracts talent to you and how people perceive your organisation's impact on the world. It becomes your narrative, inspiring trust and loyalty.

Understanding ESG: Why Align it With the Organisation’s Purpose?

Now, let's talk about ESG: Environmental, Social, and Governance. These are the pillars supporting sustainability with a purpose.

1. Environmental: This encompasses efforts to reduce your environmental footprint. It's about minimising waste, conserving resources, and combating climate change. For example, integrating renewable energy sources or reducing emissions through innovative technologies.

2. Social: This pillar focuses on the wellbeing of employees, communities, and society at large. It involves fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organisation, supporting local communities, and ensuring fair labour practices.

3. Governance: Governance ensures that your organisation operates ethically, transparently, and with integrity. It's about good corporate governance, compliance with regulations, and ethical leadership.


Why Does ESG Matter to Investors and Employees?

Did you know? 70% of employees find sustainability programs make employers more appealing, with 80% expressing a desire to contribute to their company's climate and ESG objectives.

Source: Quartz

However, ESG should not be mistaken for an employee attraction scheme. Investors are equally, if not more, inclined towards considering partnerships with businesses that have a clear purpose about ESG. This is because they recognize that ESG-aligned companies may yield better long-term returns and pose fewer risks.

There are other factors that give businesses that care about ESG a competitive edge:

1. Risk Mitigation: Companies that effectively manage ESG risks are better equipped to navigate potential challenges. For instance, a business with robust environmental practices may be less vulnerable to regulatory fines or supply chain disruptions due to climate-related issues.

2. Long-Term Resilience: ESG-conscious companies tend to be more adaptable and resilient in the face of changing market dynamics. They are better prepared to seize opportunities emerging from shifting consumer preferences and evolving regulations.

3. Reputation and Branding: ESG practices significantly impact a company's reputation and brand perception. Consumers and employees are more inclined to support and engage with businesses that demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

4. Regulatory Landscape: Governments worldwide are implementing stricter ESG-related regulations. Companies that proactively address ESG concerns are more likely to comply with current and future regulations, reducing legal and financial risks.

Purpose-Driven ESG and its Business Benefits

When ESG initiatives are aligned with a clear purpose, they become a force for positive change. Purpose-driven ESG is not just about checking boxes; it's about genuine commitment. It's reflected in how you create products and services that benefit society, how you treat your employees, and how you make decisions that uphold your values.

Purpose-driven companies are more than just socially responsible; they're profitable. They tend to outperform their peers in the long run because they're adaptable, forward-thinking, and focused on long-term goals rather than short-term gains. They attract and retain passionate employees and loyal customers.

Key Takeaways

A well-defined purpose, one that goes beyond profits and touches on how your business positively impacts society and the environment, is the cornerstone of a purpose-driven organisation.

It’s important for entrepreneurs to remember that purpose is your guiding star. It's not a superficial statement; it's the very core of who you are as a business. Purpose-driven organisations thrive because they're committed to creating positive change, not just profit. When you align your purpose with ESG practices, you set a course for long-term resilience, reputation enhancement, and profitability.

Incorporate purpose into every decision, engage your stakeholders, and witness the transformative power of a business that's not only socially responsible but also highly profitable. So, embark on this purpose-driven journey, and let your organisation be a force for meaningful, sustainable impact in our world.


  1. Quartz: Workers want companies that care about ESG...