6 trends that will reshape business purpose in 2021

From the importance of authenticity to embracing employees as agents of change, this is what the coming year will look like for businesses focused on purpose.

Each year, we gather predictions on the coming year in purpose from the Purpose Collaborative, our collective of purpose-driven firms advancing business and societal impacts for organizations around the world.

The world we’re entering in 2021 will be far different than we imagined a year ago. Yet we begin the year armed with lessons from 2020, as well as new challenges, new opportunities, new beginnings, and renewed hope.

For businesses, this has meant a growing movement to embrace purpose—a reason for being beyond profits, grounded in humanity—to do well and do good by solving some of the world’s biggest societal challenges. 2020 accelerated this movement by forcing companies to reprioritize; put their employees, customers, and communities above shareholders; and use their capabilities to respond to the pandemic with agility and empathy.

This year, their insights take on new meaning.


Pre-pandemic, society grappled with an impending climate crisis, along with all the other pressing global-social challenges of today—from hunger and homelessness to healthcare and education.

While COVID-19 became the issue of 2020, it also highlighted and exacerbated underlying issues like inequality, the state of our prison systems, access to education and technology, and so much more. In the U.S., the killing of George Floyd—and too many others before and after him—reignited the ongoing movement for racial justice and equality.

This convergence of issues challenged companies to step up in unprecedented ways, as more citizens looked to the private sector to take action that stretched nongovernmental organizations and gridlocked governments couldn’t. “Over two-thirds of all philanthropic dollars donated to the pandemic came from the corporate sector,” says Brittany Hill, founder and CEO of Accelerist. “Purposeful companies realized, yet again, they can fill societal, governmental, and economic gaps in times of crisis.”

The organizations with an established purpose pre-pandemic responded swiftly to the events of 2020 and—most important—with empathy and humanity. “Purpose has served as an antidote to paralysis, helping companies stay focused and motivated in extremely adverse conditions,” says Fábio Milnitzky, CEO of iN. “When all else is uncertain . . . people turn to what they know is true and unchanging—purpose—as inspiration and direction for decision-making.”

Though awareness of the role of purpose in business has grown in recent years, purpose as a core business strategy had never been put to the test as it was at the height of the pandemic.

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Πηγή: fastcompany.com

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