• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Purpose-driven Business: An innovative and inspiring Online Executive Program


CATÓLICA-LISBON Executive Education launched in October 2020 a new Online Program titled “Purpose-driven Business”. I – The context There is a widespread acceptance of the importance for companies to increasingly incorporate social and environmental concerns in the definition of their business strategies. From a business point of view, it is obvious that there can be no environmental or social sustainability without economic sustainability. But what is also increasingly certain is that there will be no economic sustainability if there is no concern on the part of companies with environmental and social sustainability. It is in this context that emerges the concept of Purpose as an integrating strategic element. Its inclusion in the strategy and culture of companies has been gaining a lot of relevance and gradually becoming mainstream on the corporate agenda – it's no longer a "nice to have" but something able to create a sustainable competitive advantage. The Program’s main benefits are a) increase awareness and understand the fundamentals of this Macrotrend, b) prepare participants for internal discussions in their organisations about what's the best strategy to respond to the challenges of the sustainability agenda, c) understand the processes that can lead to successful strategy definition II – The Methodology The Program, taught in Portuguese, will run over four weeks and has quite an innovative methodology:

  • each week begins with a session with the online presence of the Instructor, followed by several challenges launched throughout the week in the digital platform that will support the course.

  • over the course of the four weeks, each participant will develop a project where he/she is challenged to build a “Purpose-driven Business” strategy for the organization of their choice. A weekly grading system, follow-up and personalised feedback will make this project a time for active and dynamic learning.

  • throughout the week, students will participate in online fora, where the various subjects relevant to learning will be discussed and where the Instructor and Tutor of the Program also participate.

  • each student will also have a personalized online meeting with the Instructor to be scheduled at the beginning of the Program for clarification of any questions they may have.

One of the fundamental features of the Program is that several interviews were conducted, in exclusivity for the course, with CEOs of key relevant companies in the market (Unilever, Danone, BP, Nielsen, BlackRock, Accenture, CUF, Egon Zehnden and GoParity). In those videos participants will hear, first-hand, directly from those executives, how these companies are facing all these challenges – and students invited to comment on what they will hear. III – The Content The content of the program has three parts, a) the context and definition of the term Responsible Business, what it means to be a "Responsible Business" and distinguishes it from a profit-oriented company, b) the strategy and business case for action; how to create a competitive advantage through Sustainability; the different stages through which companies went: philanthropy, risk management, value creation, until reaching the purpose-driven concept, c) the concept of Purpose; Purpose as a guide to strategic action; what is Purpose and why it is important; how to implement in order to transform the company into a Purpose-driven business. We are sure that this course will be an important learning moment on these subjects and has the potential to inspire the participants to become important players in creating a corporate world capable of ensuring the three axes of sustainability: economic obviously, but also environmental and social. Also worth noticing that the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has very generously decided to sponsor a number of scholarships for Start Ups to join the Program (all details in the link above). A 4’ video with further details on the Program can be seen here. Have a great and Impactful week! Nuno Moreira da Cruz Executive Director Center for Responsible Business & Leadership