At the heart of Blueprint is the assertion that business should be guided and inspired by a purpose that benefits society and respects people. 

It is easy to have a debate about what you do but the bigger debate is to ask why you are doing it? What is the purpose of your efforts?

A business needs to make a profit otherwise it cannot survive – but making a profit is not the purpose of business.  There needs to be a connection between the purpose of the business, the benefit to society and to all the other stakeholders: employees want a job,  customers want the right goods or services at the right price,  suppliers want to be treated properly, investors want a return… purpose is the glue that brings it all together and creates long term sustainable performance.

What Is The Purpose Of Corporate Purpose

What is the Purpose of Purpose?

To inspire people to contribute their personal energy to a collective venture.

To reveal the human face of what the organisation is working to achieve.

To ensure an authentic connection between what the organisation believes, what it says, what it means and what it does.

To enable people to make practical choices about what they do day to day, using the purpose as a constant reference point.

Loughlin Hickey, one of our Trustees and senior adviser to Blueprint talks about the purpose of purpose.

What should a purpose be?


Does it identify the people who are the intended beneficiaries of the purpose (the human face of the purpose)?

Is it directed at what is done or produced or at the beneficial outcomes sought?


Is the purpose a driver of business decisions or more of a communications descriptor?

Is the portfolio of goods and services aligned fully to the pursuit of the purpose?


Is it clear enough so that choices can be made?

Can it be used to review what services / products should be provided?

Can it be used to encourage and reward behaviours?

.. we must breathe to live but breathing is not the purpose of life. The purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services to meet economic and social needs, to create satisfying and rewarding employment, to earn returns for its shareholders and other investors, and to make a positive contribution to the social and physical environment in which it operates.”

John Kay, Economist

” I want to see the profits for my company made in a world I’m happy to live in. I offer the same standard to my investors: you want fair return on your investment, and you want to see an improvement to the world in which you will spend it. Because of this, Hermes has become part of the Blueprint for Better Business movement.  But this is bigger than my business alone. We are at the cusp of something that could become one of the great social movements. The timing is right, the need is there. Find your company’s social purpose, live it, and talk about it.”

Saker Nusseibeh, CEO, Hermes Investment Management

Paul Polman
Vincent Nichols

Blueprint has been central to both my thinking about purpose in business generally, and more specifically, the purpose of the business that we are building in Old Mutual Wealth. It has made me think not only about what kind of business we are building, but why. Purpose is fundamentally important. We know that the mantras of profit maximization and shareholder value above all other priorities are outdated and that purpose can provide the balance to this. But to be relevant, purpose needs to engage people, to resonate with them, to mobilise them to action. In spending time thinking about this, and by using Blueprint as a framework, clarity of purpose has not only helped me as a leader, it has created connections with our employees, customers and communities”

Paul Feeney, CEO, Old Mutual Wealth

Paul Feeney - Old Mutual Wealth