Transforming Strategy to Advance Equitable Outcomes

Centering Equity in Corporate Purpose

The moral imperative to advance equity is now the business imperative of our time. Meeting this imperative requires a seismic shift in how business leaders define and deliver corporate purpose through a transformed approach to strategy.

Centering equity in corporate purpose means going beyond episodic or siloed efforts to deeply integrate equity into the company’s core business with the goal of contributing to the long-term success of business and society through more equitable outcomes for all.

The ideas we describe in Centering Equity in Corporate Purpose, an actionable guide designed for corporate practitioners like you, apply to equity across a range of forms, including racial, gender, economic, sexual identity, religious identity, and beyond. The specific approach for each company to apply these ideas will be unique depending on the varied contexts in which it operates and on the problems it is trying to solve.

When it comes to matters of equity, companies must take time to understand how these problems impact people differently by deeply engaging with and listening to the communities they aim to serve and embracing their perspectives.

Every company has its own journey to advance equity. This is a long-term commitment that begins with appreciating your own journey to learning new truths and unlearning attitudes and behaviors that are obstacles to more equitable outcomes. Whether you are a CEO or a seasoned DEI leader seeking to integrate equity into your company’s core business strategy or a business unit leader striving to deliver on your company’s promises, this guide is intended to help you think differently about what it takes to truly advance equity.

Five Practices to Center Equity in Corporate Purpose

These practices are designed to help you build awareness about the issues of equity that matter most to your business, understand why the issues exist, and choose where to invest your resources to make the greatest impact. They are also intended to help you uncover new value drivers for your business and realize how advancing equity can lead to long-term profit and growth.

As you embark on your journey, you will find these practices are interwoven and iterative.

Enabling Conditions for Change

Strategy is a critical element to centering equity in a company’s purpose, but it is insufficient on its own.

Strategy cannot come to fruition without changing the conditions in the organization that enable its success.

Much work has been done to help leaders transform their organizations to become fully inclusive and equitable. Drawing on this work and reflecting on our experience working with business leaders around the world, we see four conditions that underpin the success of a strategy centered on equity.