In-Depth Insights COMING OUT THIS AUTUMN 2019 


The 2019 Leaders on Purpose CEO study, which includes interviews with CEOs from BMW, PayPal, L'Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Kohler and many more, provides new insight into the challenging and changing role of business in society and can serve as a model for capitalism. Coupled with the 2018 study, 30 CEOs share tangible examples of the impact of their decision to embrace and anchor their business around PURPOSE.



Shaping the future of leadership: A recap from Davos January 2019


The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting convened this week at Davos, Switzerland, under the theme of Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. CEOs, Heads of State, policymakers, activists, and more descended on the small Swiss town to discuss the state of the world.


“The world is facing a growing number of complex and interconnected challenges—from slowing global growth and persistent economic inequality to climate change, geopolitical tensions and the accelerating pace of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In isolation, these are daunting challenges; faced simultaneously, we will struggle if we do not work together” — Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum


Now is the time for action. We need to scale solutions in order to improve the state of the world — the implications of failure, and its cost to business and society, are too high to ignore. With these immense challenges come opportunities, and we wanted to share several solutions from the leaders on the ground:


  • Partnerships are key to scaling impact Cross-sectoral and intra-sectoral partnerships are key to achieving impact at scale. We were thrilled to see cross-sector collaboration taking shape across the board, with a number of partnerships aimed at addressing complex systemic issues.  As CEO Wiebe Draije from Rabobank remarked at the CEO Partnership for Inclusion panel: “This is a new business logic; this is entrepreneurship of global organizations on the systemic level.” We were privileged to see a number of high-level partnerships announced, such as Partnerships for Inclusion, a public-private partnership addressing the 1.7 billion adults currently excluded from access to financial services.


  • Purpose-driven leadership is no longer a buzzword; it’s an imperative. As Franz Van Houton CEO of Royal Philips at the launch of the Circular Economy Gap Report says, “leadership needs to stand up and make the move.” The Circular Economy provides an opportunity to do just that. Van Houten remarked that ““when you move from a linear to a circular business model your relationships with your customers goes through a change – from transactional to much more of a long term partnership, because you want your product back.” These types of innovations require visionary and transformative leadership. 


  • Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) make business sense. Organisations that embrace the SDGs are outperforming those that do not. And the SDG business opportunity is significant, with estimates ranging from $12-68 Trillion. Sigve Brekkl, the CEO of Telenor, says that “it is the CEO’s task to find commercially sustainable and scalable markets and solutions. It’s not corporate social responsibility; it is part of the core business, and it’s good business.” This sentiment was echoed by a number of other corporations. According to Mastercard’s Michael Froman, “we believe that commercially sustainable social impact is possible. We want to be a leader in this field and show that it works.”


The World Economic Forum’s motto is “committed to improving the state of the world.” The state of today’s world is concerning. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, only one in five people believe the current system is working. Challenges abound, from climate change to the refugee crisis and the rise of automation, which could result in mass unemployment. It is clear that all of us need to work together in order to address these issues and more.


At Leaders on Purpose, we work with CEOs experts, and top innovators leading across sectors at the forefront of a new business logic, turning ideas into action to drive societal, environmental and organizational prosperity for a just and sustainable world. We celebrate the kind of leadership that embodies the wisdom, agility, and conviction to manage a growing population on a planet with finite resources and makes a stand. And, after our week at Davos, we are optimistic that so many committed leaders are embracing the current challenges, re-framing them into opportunities and solutions at scale, and shaping our future with desirable impact.