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purpose driven business and vision

Brain Circuits

Four questions to ask while building a purpose-driven business 

IbyIMD+ Published 14 November 2023 in Brain Circuits • 4 min read

As purpose-driven businesses seek to solve problems for society, they must leverage their relationships with multiple stakeholders and stay profitable. The question is: How can they achieve their social goals at the same time as achieving financial success? 

What do a Danish shipping company and a premium pet food provider have in common? They elevated their corporate purpose and have what we call advocacy-based business models, which are succeeding as they focus on targeted stakeholders.  

AP Moller-Maersk and Royal Canin (part of Mars, Inc.) are two of the 12 companies that we studied as they were implementing new organizational orientations centered on purpose. We found four things that successful companies do well as they navigate these very different industries. Ask yourself if your company exhibits any of the following four traits. 

… take a stance? 

Taking a stance on societal or environmental problems is key to advocacy-based business models. Maersk, the pioneer in container shipping that enabled global trade, pledged to pursue decarbonization of ocean transport. The company signed nine agreements to produce green methanol and successfully launched “ECO Delivery,” then the only carbon-neutral shipping option in the industry. Between 2019 and 2022, the demand for ECO Delivery grew 170% year-on-year, driven by Maersk’s largest customers, which include Nike, H&M, Disney, Novo Nordisk, BMW, and Volvo.

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