Unleashing Sustainability Through Shared Purpose, Vision & Strategy

In the pursuit of a sustainable world, having a shared purpose, vision, and strategy can galvanise your organisation’s efforts. These are not mere buzzwords; they represent the cornerstone of a sustainable future. Catapult has had the privilege of facilitating the co-creation of these foundational elements for many leading organisations. In this article, we will explore the importance of shared purpose, vision, and strategy for advancing sustainability. We will also showcase examples of organisations that have made sustainability central.

Leaders Like You, Nick Sceats & Andrea Thompson


Shared purpose serves as the guiding force behind an organisation’s existence. When sustainability is embedded in the central purpose, organisations can harness the collective energy and commitment of their stakeholders to drive meaningful change. Some international organisations have made sustainability their core focus, and this is reflected in their purpose statements:

  • Patagonia: Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.
  • Unilever: Make sustainable living commonplace.
  • Tesla: Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Here are two examples closer to home which Catapult facilitated:

  • Solomon Islands IRD: Improving the lives of all Solomon Islanders.
  • Kāpiti District Council: Supporting a connected, vibrant and sustainable coastal community.


Your vision statement acts like a guiding beacon, setting the course of an organisation’s future success. Putting sustainability in your vision statement signals to the outside world, and within your organisation, your commitment and aspirations to operate in a sustainable way.

Here are some international and local organisations whose vision statements reflect a strong focus on sustainability:

  • Unilever: To deliver winning performance by being the global leader in sustainable business.
  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people, offering well-designed, functional, and sustainable home furnishing products.
  • New Zealand Green Building Council: For all homes and buildings in Aotearoa to be green and sustainable, making healthier, happier New Zealanders.
  • Unison Energy: To lead a sustainable energy future that supports customers’ changing needs, while enabling our communities to prosper for generations to come.


While purpose and vision provide meaning and direction, a sustainability strategy captures how the organisation will achieve its sustainability ambitions. Developing a sustainability strategy involves identifying focus areas. At Catapult, we recommend identifying three to five focus areas for a sustainability strategy. Here are some examples of sustainability strategies:


  • Drive climate action
  • Reduce plastic as part of a waste-free world
  • Regenerate nature and agriculture
  • Raise living standards in our value chain

Air New Zealand:

  • Caring for New Zealanders
  • Genuine climate action
  • Driving towards a circular economy
  • Sustainable tourism


  • Live zero
  • Love carbon
  • Let nature cool
  • Lead the industrial re-revolution


Embedding sustainability into your company’s core foundations has many benefits:

  1. Improve Brand Value & Reputation: Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability enhances your brand’s image, positioning your company as responsible and forward-thinking. This positive perception can attract environmentally conscious customers and investors who align with your values.
  2. Meet Consumer Demand: Today’s consumers are increasingly drawn to eco-friendly and socially responsible businesses. By integrating sustainability into your core, you can tap into a growing market segment, bolstering sales and customer loyalty.
  3. Platform for Innovation: Sustainability challenges often inspire creative problem-solving. By making it an integral part of your strategy, you encourage your teams to innovate, leading to the development of new products, services, and business models that address environmental and social concerns.
  4. Attract and Retain Talent: Millennials and Gen Z employees are particularly drawn to purpose-driven organisations. By showcasing your dedication to sustainability, you can attract top-tier talent that is motivated by more than just financial gains, and retain them by offering meaningful and impactful work.
  5. Increase Profits and Reduce Costs: Sustainable practices often lead to operational efficiencies and resource optimisation. Energy-efficient processes, waste reduction, and responsible sourcing can cut costs while also appealing to cost-conscious consumers.
  6. Build Resilience and Risk Management: A sustainability-focused approach helps your business prepare for future challenges, such as regulatory changes and resource scarcity. Diversifying supply chains, minimising waste, and embracing circular economy practices enhance your resilience and mitigate risks.
  7. Strengthen Stakeholder Relationships: Investors, regulators, and communities increasingly value organisations that contribute positively to society. Integrating sustainability into your core strategy can improve relationships with these stakeholders, fostering goodwill and trust.

Source: Catapult


By aligning around a shared purpose that places sustainability at its core, organisations can harness the collective energy and commitment of their stakeholders to drive meaningful impact. Vision statements then set the ambitious course for the organisation, guiding its future success. These powerful visions inspire innovation and creativity, leading to the development of sustainable products, services, and practices that shape a better future. The development of a clear sustainability strategy is the final piece of the puzzle. By identifying focus areas for action, organisations can ensure that their efforts go beyond mere short-term initiatives.

Organisations that prioritise sustainability not only make a positive impact on the environment and society, but also attract and retain top talent, cultivate engaged and motivated employees, and enhance their reputation as responsible and purpose-driven entities.