Combining Profit with Purpose - What Current and Future Leaders are Thinking

Update   –   9 December 2014

Cranfield School of Business asked 50 CEO’s and 150 MBA students their view of the purpose of business in society.

This ground-breaking study, commisioned by CCE (Coca Cola Enterprises), showed that although current and future business leaders agree overwhelmingly (88% and 90%, respectively) that businesses should have a social purpose, there are significant differences in how current and future leaders see the scope of business role in society.


The study importantly found that the term social purpose implies something different from social responsibility or sustainability:

• Purpose speaks to ends while responsibility refers to means;

• Purpose is the reason for being, the reason the firm exists.


How a business operates will change over time, in response to societal feedback about appropriate operational behaviours and why a business operates should be constant and stand the test of time.


Appendix 2 of this study reports on the conclusions of Anita Hoffmann’s speech published in Istanbul ( ) earlier in 2014.


The full report can be found here


The study was conducted jointly with the international student organisation NetImpact and Financial Times, FT Remark for the Future for Sustainability Summit 2014.