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Your company purpose



“What is the unique contribution that our company makes to the world?”


When you can answer this question, you have discovered the purpose of your company. It’s the core reason why your company exists.


Something has changed. For decades thinking bigger than your immediate self-interest conflicted with profit maximization and shareholder thinking, as it was brought to us by Milton Friedman of the Chicago School of Economics.


But, and this is really interesting, today there is now overwhelming proof that companies with a clear purpose, with a broader perspective on more stakeholders like their clients, their employees and the environment, actually produce excellent financial results. Both in the short and long term!


Every company needs to generate a healthy profit at the end of the business day. It’s like the great Peter Drucker said: “Profit for a company is what oxygen is for a person. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re out of the game. But if you think that your life is all about breathing, then you’re really missing something!”. Henry Ford said something similar: “The best way to make money in business is not to think about it too much”. In my own words: profit is only the (necessary) result of everything you do in a company. No more, no less.


If you want to dive deeper into purposeful companies to get inspired by their journeys, I recommend you follow some of the companies I mention hereunder. Of course, their sizes and markets are different. And of course, they also have their challenges. But they all have strong guiding principles that help them navigate the times we live in today.

  1. Unilever. The English/Dutch public company with 50 billion euros in revenues! A global FMCG giant with their iconic Ben & Jerry and Burt’s Bee’s brands. Their purpose: to make sustainable living commonplace
  2. Patagonia. Privately owned Californian outdoor company and strongly principled driven since inception. Their purpose: we’re in business to save our home planet (I know, it sounds huge)
  3. Ørsted. The Danish public energy company that completely reinvented itself to focus on renewables and is reporting very strong results year over year. Their purpose: create a world that runs entirely on green energy
  4. IKEA. The Swedish furniture business. Their purpose: create a better everyday life for the people.


Now, back to us. First, we need to unlock the purpose of our own company and embrace the high-level idea. But, if it’s just words on the wall and if we don’t do anything with it, or worse, use it mostly for our own Public Relations and marketing, it will come back to us like a greenwashing boomerang!


A valuable resource that I want to recommend for action is: Here, you can see the ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) goals and actions that other companies are working on currently.


Hope this inspires


Paul Donkers

Paul P.J. Donkers is a sought-after global business coach and management consultant. More about his work and projects can be found via and via

Do you want to have a confidential conversation with Paul or one of our partners about the purpose of your business? Please reach out to us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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