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Polling of 2000 UK consumers showed that a majority would stop purchasing products or services from organizations whose behaviour is hypocritical.

BSI polling of UK consumers and business leaders reveals that close to half (47 percent) of consumers consider a company’s purpose when making a purchasing decision and that two-thirds (66 percent) will abandon a product or business acting inconsistently with its purpose – a sign that consumers have lost patience with organizations that do not follow the principles of purpose-driven organizations.

The data is even starker for younger age groups, with 74 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds actively considering purpose in buying decisions and 80% of that group saying they will abandon products or businesses acting inconsistently with their purpose.

A parallel poll found that younger business leaders between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to lead organizations with a purpose beyond profit, with three-quarters of those under 34 saying they did so.

The survey also found that 68 percent of all consumers are willing to spend more with an organization that keeps to its stated purpose.

Yet the poll of UK business leaders shows only a fifth (21 percent) agree that a lack of purpose is detrimental to business, indicating a disconnect between how organizations and consumers view the importance of purpose.

Most, but not all, organizations have a stated, written purpose beyond profit – close to two-thirds (63 percent) according to the survey. And nearly four-fifths (78 percent) consider the purpose of other organizations they use or work with. Nevertheless, two-thirds do not frame or measure the delivery of their purpose through an independent third party.

The data shows that almost three-quarters (74 percent) of business leaders would feel more confident in delivering on their purpose if there was a standardized method. Consumers share this sentiment, with nearly half saying it would be ‘fairly helpful’ and nearly a third (31 percent) saying it would be ‘very helpful’ if there was a standard that helped assess whether brands were keeping to their purpose.

A new standard published by BSI provides this practical help. PAS 808: Purpose-Driven Organizations: Worldviews, Principles and Behaviours assists organizations develop their own strategies and approaches to enact and embed purpose in their policies, processes, practices, products, services, and value networks. The guide establishes common terms and definitions related to the purpose and outlines the worldviews, principles and associated behaviours and activities of a purpose-driven organization.

Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors, BSI said: “The research demonstrates that urgent action is needed to align organizations with a sustainable future. There is a growing consensus that purpose-driven organizations may hold the key and that there could be a clear dividend to business purposes.

“We live in an age where organizations that lose the trust of their customers also stand to lose their business. PAS 808 represents a watershed moment in helping them meet the pressing challenge of aligning their purpose with their actions. We are proud to have convened a range of stakeholders to demystify what a good purpose-driven organization looks like and provide a framework for accountability.”

PAS 808 is freely available to download at

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