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In the three years since we began studying CEO perspectives on the role of purpose, we have interviewed over 2,100 CEOs from around the world. Over time, and across several markets, our findings reveal one common, unifying thread: purpose drives progress.

Welcome to the CEO Purpose Report 2021.


CEOs surveyed this year




CEOs surveyed since 2019


CEOs lead 1000+ employees

Markets world

Key findings

Purpose is leading the pack

Purpose is now firmly established as the No. 1 factor in driving business growth.

CEOs rank company purpose as the most important factor for driving business growth — more than attracting talent, company culture, employee training, and employee value proposition.

for driving growth

Purpose is here to stay

Purpose is past the point of early adoption and could replace mission, vision and values in the coming years.

One in four CEOs (27%) say they already have a company purpose, and 59% say they don't have a company purpose but want to make one.

have a purpose

want a purpose

Purpose is a competitive advantage

Purpose-driven companies foster business growth, brand strength, and win in the marketplace.

Nine in 10 CEOs whose company has a purpose statement (87%) say purpose plays an integral role, driving initiatives across the business.

purpose is integral

Purpose is a guiding beacon

When it comes to navigating times of uncertainty, purpose serves as the North Star.

Nine in 10 CEOs whose companies have a purpose statement (89%) agree that purpose has helped guide their business through uncertain times — especially during the pandemic.

purpose guides us

Purpose is amplifying sustainability

Purpose and sustainability complement one another and have a positive impact on companies’ bottom lines.

Four in five CEOs (83%) agree that purpose-driven companies are better at navigating sustainability than profit-driven companies.

lens for sustainability

Purpose is a challenge to activate

When it comes to bridging the gap between defining a purpose and activating it, CEOs are not always sure what to do.

Three in five CEOs who have or want a company purpose (60%) admit that they are uncertain about how to enact their purpose.

unsure how to activate

Read the full report

Discover what else CEOs had to say about the pandemic, sustainability, and their workforce.

Connect with our experts

Find out how we can help unlock the potential of your organization's purpose.

Our methodology

The survey was hosted by Savanta via an online survey among 705 CEOs in the US, UK, France, Germany, India and China between 17 December 2020 and 14 January 2021.



Nick Ranger

Managing Partner, Consulting


Previous CEO reports


2020 ceoreport tile

The few. The bold. The leaders


2019 ceoreport tile

The long-term view most CEOs aren't seeing