Publications & Thought Leadership

March 2022

The Social Purpose Transition Pathway: Helping Companies Move from “Say” to “Do”

Posted in Leadership Strategies

“The Social Purpose Transition Pathway: Helping Companies Move from “Say” to “Do” is the world’s first Social Purpose Rating focused on social purpose implementation. It is hoped that this Social Purpose Rating will influence investor expectations, create a roadmap for effective social purpose implementation, advance the social purpose field in Canada and beyond – and accelerate progress toward a sustainable future.

The objectives of this Social Purpose Rating are to:

  • Determine the current state of play – Understand how social purpose is being implemented among public and private companies in Canada
  • Foster continuous improvement – Identify best practices, determine gaps, and share learnings among the players already making the social purpose transition, those just starting out, and perhaps most importantly, for those not yet at the starting blocks
  • Establish a purpose baseline and emergent standards – Create a purpose governance and implementation benchmark that can be replicated, offer a foundation for the development of global standards, and potentially be integrated into our cyclical performance rankings and ratings

The Social Purpose Rating studied how 34 social purpose companies were implementing their purpose and found that:

  • The process of becoming a social purpose company takes time.
  • There is a social purpose transition pathway.
  • Companies are strongest on aligning their corporate values and disclosures to their social purpose.
  • They are weakest at social purpose governance.
  • Private companies are stronger social purpose performers than public companies.
  • The two top indicators of authentic purpose execution are embedment of purpose in the corporate strategy and executive performance incentives.
  • We are at the frontier of social purpose execution, but best practices exist.
  • Boards have a central role to play to ensure effective, authentic, and impactful purpose performance.

The Social Purpose Rating was co-authored by Coro and Michelynn Lafleche, Senior Advisor to the CEO of Corporate Knights.

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