ENACTING PURPOSE INITIATIVE

EPI

Enacting Purpose Initiative – Key Partners

The Enacting Purpose Initiative is a multi-institution partnership between the University of Oxford,  the University of California Berkeley, BCG BrightHouse, EOS at Federated Hermes and the British Academy.

Purpose, strategy and performance

The EPI seeks to establish best practice purpose governance, globally. To do this, we have invited a number of leading businesses and investors to work alongside the research partners.

 

 The body of work coming out of the Enacting Purpose Initiative is also contributing to the British Academy's 'Future of the Corporation' initiative, forming a critical part of its insight agenda.

 

We are supported by a number of leading universities, corporations and professional service firms including the Law School at the University of California Berkeley; BCG BrightHouse; EOS at Federated Hermes; and the senior leadership teams from a large number of global organisations from across Europe and the US. Our thanks go to these partners, and to the members of all three of our steering groups.

 

Report # 1

 

In 2020, we brought together our first set of meetings, convening a series of 30 business leaders from organisations and institutions headquartered in the UK and Continental Europe to form a Directors Steering Group. These meetings resulted in our first report "Enacting Purpose within the Modern Corporation: A Framework for Directors", a copy of which can be downloaded below. This report made three contributions as follows:

 

  • definitional clarity, separating out the concepts of purpose, mission, values and vision
  • differentiating purpose as strategy from purpose as marketing, and
  • a new board governance framework SCORE, through which directors can best govern the enactment of their stated purpose

Report # 2

 

In 2021, we convened a second set of meetings establishing two parallel discussion tracks - one for board directors and one for the investment community.  We brought together a group of 30 business leaders from organisations and institutions headquartered in the US to form the Directors Steering Group and a separate Global Investor Steering Group which was attended by 30 leading asset owners and managers. These meetings were hugely productive, and resulted in our second report "Directors & Investors: Building on Common Ground to Advance Sustainable Capitalism", a copy of which can be downloaded below. This report built on the momentum from the first EPI report, outlining:

 

  • the corporate, investor, legal and political context in which the debate on purpose has become so critical for organisations
  • how different definitions converge, together with some initial thoughts on how purpose can best be measured
  • what boards and investors most want to see when it comes to purpose, focusing on the common ground that unites both groups

 

Other Papers

 

We have separately worked with colleagues across academia and business on the question of how to best measure and report purpose.  Our first discussion paper "Measuring Purpose - An Integrated Framework" can be found in the reports section of this website below alongside the Steering Group reports.

Project Team

Research, Initiatives and Reports

EPI Report # 1

EPI Report # 2

EPI Report - EU: Bibliography

Measuring Purpose - An Integrated Framework

Presentations

Enacting Purpose Initiative/British Academy Webinar, "Beyond ESG - Measuring Corporate Purpose", 5 March 2021

University of Oxford/Economics of Mutuality Webinar,
"Putting Purpose into Practice", 17 March 2021

Commentary