Dominic Mason
Dominic Mason
Managing Director, Southeast Asia
Articles 3 min read
04 Apr 2023

How Singapore Corporations Approach and Communicate the ‘Why’ of Their Business

To find out how companies in Singapore navigate the concept of purpose, Ferdinand de Bakker and Amanda Huan of Nanyang Technological University, in partnership with Sedgwick Richardson, look at how 100 Singapore companies approached purpose.

Why do businesses do what they do?

The research analysed 100 leading Singapore companies and how they describe their corporate purpose, mission, vision, and values, as well as how they communicate these concepts to stakeholders. Our findings show that most companies rely on traditional concepts like mission, vision, and values that have been used globally for over 40 years. Even though these concepts differ inherently, companies frequently confused them in their communications.

In contrast, purpose is a relatively new concept. The study found that only 47 companies explicitly articulated their purpose. Most purposes revolved around creating value and improving people’s lives and communities. Some statements were generic, like “Make great products for customers that create value and improve lives” or “Harness technology to empower people and businesses and create a sustainable future.” As purpose statements become more widespread, they are likely to improve and become more concise over time.

What would the world be missing out on if your business ceased to exist?

There is no doubt that articulating a clear corporate purpose provides significant benefits and leads to greater success, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore’s National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre’s “Company of Good” ecosystem supports and enables purpose-driven companies. The industry-led “Alliance for Action on Corporate Purpose” and its report “Corporate Purpose – A Framework & Blueprint for Businesses in Singapore” are also welcome developments.

In summary, the report provides insights into how Singapore companies define and communicate their purpose to key stakeholders. It highlights both the progress made and opportunities for improvement to help businesses strengthen their purpose and performance.

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