What is Enduring Purpose?

An enduring purpose is a public statement regarding a company's core principles, defining values, as well as its short- and long-term goals. An enduring purpose is similar in many ways to a mission statement and serves to provide a guide as to the company's past and present direction. An enduring purpose can encompass both financial and non-financial goals.

A statement of enduring purpose may also contain an organization's "value statement" as well as its vision statement that spells out what it strives for and what goals it seeks to pursue in the future. Thus, the enduring purpose may consist of the organization's mission, stated values, and its vision for the future.

Key Takeaways

  • An enduring purpose statement is similar to a mission statement, but broader, often including the mission statement, statement of values, and vision statement.
  • Enduring purpose statements—or the mission, value and vision statements—are typically found on an organization's website.
  • These statements may help someone decide if they wish to donate or invest in a charity or company.

Understanding Enduring Purpose

A company's enduring purpose defines the business and attempts to describe its vision and core values. It is considered the guiding principle that all employees are supposed to follow. An enduring purpose can be very important to those wishing to invest in companies that are in sync with their own values. For example, the green movement has even spawned its own index. The Standard & Poor's introduced a "Carbon-Efficient Select Index," featuring leading companies in emerging markets that are ecologically conscious and state so as part of their enduring purpose.

People may also want to invest in ethical companies, called ethical investing. While actions speak louder than words, the enduring purpose statement may help an investor decide which companies to invest with and which ones not to.

Statements of enduring purpose are sometimes used to encompass an organization's mission statement, statement of values, and vision statement all in the same document (often included on an organization's web site).

Real-World Example of Enduring Purpose

UNICEF is a recognized global non-profit organization that "...works in over 190 countries to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF has spent 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families."
The statement above, from the organization's website, describes what UNICEF does.

UNICEF believes "All children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential—to the benefit of a better world."

The organization has sweeping statements on how it operates, its values, and what it wants to achieve. The following are some of those statements, taken from the UNICEF website, where the rest of the purpose statements can be found.

"UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential."

"UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behavior towards children."

"UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress."

"UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families."

Statements such as these, and others on their website, may help someone decide if they wish to donate to UNICEF, or choose another organization to donate to.