In pursuit of impact: Mission-led businesses

This report sets out an approach for defining and identifying businesses that have no legal restrictions on their profit
distribution but which have a genuine commitment to wider social impact.

In March 2016, the Office for Civil Society and Innovation (OCSI) launched a review of mission-led business in the UK. Mission-led businesses are for-profit businesses which make a powerful commitment to social impact outside the traditional social sector legal forms.

The review was launched in response to emerging business and market trends that reflect the growing role for mission-led businesses in the wider market.  These trends include:

  • Increasing expectations for business to adopt a responsible role in wider society. For example, nine out of ten millennials believe that the success of a business should be measured by more than just its financial
  • Employees becoming more optimistic about businesses that make a commitment external to themselves. One survey indicates that workers are twice as likely to be optimistic about businesses with a strong sense of purpose. These businesses are considered more likely to be resilient to future shocks and “able to stay ahead of industry disruptions”; and,
  • The digital economy creating greater transparency, ensuring trust in business becomes ever more important at a time when public trust in business is at an all time low. In a global survey, only half the public “trust institutions to do what’s right”.
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