Purpose Drives Trust And System Value Replaces Shared Value

The second day of Sustainable Brands Copenhagen started out much better than day 1. First out was Globescan and SustainAbility presenting their studies "The Public on Purpose" and "Sustainability Leaders". The first focusing on global consumer views on purpose and the latter on the views of sustainability experts. 

The 3 main insights from the consumer perspective:

  1. There is a strong market for purpose globally - Globally, 65% consumers try to support brands with a clear purpose (74% in Europe)
  2. Purpose drives brand trust
  3. We are still early in the Purpose Economy - a lot of things to be done

The 3 main insights from the sustainability expert perspective:

  1. Expectations on the private sector is higher than ever - it has grown for 20 years
  2. Partnership & collaboration between different sectors are key to success 
  3. Purpose must integrate into the brand - Authenticity is still the big problem, companies have trouble understanding the real meaning of purpose. 

Later during the morning session Dr Sirikul Nui Laukaikul from a Thai branding agency talked to us about the concept of the SufficiencyEconomy. A concept developed by the Thai King in the early 2000s. 

Geoff Kendall of the Future-Fit Foundation then went on to talk about the same thing as Giles Hutchins during day 1, the move from shareholder value to shared value and now the shift from shared value to system value. He went on to introduce their Future-Fit Business Benchmark, absolutely worth checking out! 


Later in the day, Danish Energy Company Dong Energy talked about their shift from black energy to green energy. In the early 2000s, Dong had only 15% of green energy. 2016, that number is 55% and growing. These are the four steps they went through: 


  1. Asking the question "What are the threats to our business?" - They realized that politicians will favour green energy in the future and that future employees will want to work for a sustainable company. 
  2. Shifting resources - From oil and coal to offshore wind
  3. Set targets - Clear targets were very important to create change
  4. C-level leadership and communication - The CEO went out bashed the current business modell in the media. 

IKEA´s own Jonas Engberg then talked about IKEA going circular 2030 and all the opportunities that offers. For example, not only selling a sofa one time but several times and also making money of repairing it. All in all, increasing IKEA´s revenue of the sofa with 95%! 


Overall it was a good day, a lot of talking about purpose. I will return to this topic soon as I feel that a lot of brands have no idea what purpose is and how to find it... 

Erik Heden

XXX, 11 Gamla Brogatan, Stockholm, Stockholms län, 11120, Sweden