Publications & Thought Leadership

March 2024

The State of Purpose Governance in Canada 2024

Posted in Sustainable Boards

Corporate governance standards and expectations continue to evolve in response to rising demands from investors, regulators, and stakeholders – and in response to continuous improvement on the part of high-performing boards. In recent years, with more companies clarifying their purpose as their meaningful reason to exist, their boards are beginning to broaden their oversight role to include purpose. Board purpose oversight is referred to as “Purpose Governance” in this report on the State of Purpose Governance in Canada.

This trend to purpose governance is a welcome one, as boards that fail to oversee their company’s purpose face a governance gap. They put their companies at risk of inauthentic purpose or “purpose washing”, and worse, fail to realize the commercial and social impact of their purpose.

To better understand this trend, the Canadian Purpose Economy Project led a survey to find out the state of purpose governance in Canada. It partnered with five Canadian governance organizations to survey their members to understand the nature of the board’s oversight of purpose and whether the board faced any challenges in taking on this role.

Nearly two hundred corporate directors and governance professionals responded to the survey to understand the state of purpose governance in Canada.

This report summarizes the findings and suggests a path forward to avoid the purpose governance gap.

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