Business corporations are perhaps the most influential organizations in society and have long been recognized as important contributors to the common good. Society grants corporations unique privileges in order to harness their great capacities to serve its needs. Yet the current narrative of the business corporation tells a different story; corporations have the sole purpose of maximizing profits for shareholders.

The ways a company views its purpose are enormously consequential, not only to ensure corporate accountability, but perhaps more importantly as the architecture for value creation.

Purpose is a firm’s vision for the value it seeks to create and how that value is created; it defines what the corporation is and does, whom it serves and how it contributes to the well-being of society.


The CEOs from BorgWarner, Arrow Electronics, and Lutron explain why leading with purpose means protecting the environment.

The public has high expectations for business leaders and their companies to do good things that improve the world. Protecting the environment is one of those expectations. And an ever-growing number of CEOs are taking on the task and making it part of their core corporate strategy.

Borg Warner’s James Verrier tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib that when he became CEO he gave serious thought to what’s commonly called “leading with purpose” and he decided to redefine the vision of the auto parts company.

The mission was changed from being a “global products technology leader” to making a “clean energy efficient world.” Verrier says his company changed its focus to design parts that could be used in electric and hybrid vehicles. There was a push to using solar panels and other energy-saving technologies in Borg Warner factories. He says the changes have had a profound impact at Borg Warner: “I can assure you that as we’ve done that and made that transition, people inside the company think differently.”

Lutron Electronics and Arrow Electronic are two other companies that are addressing environmental issues as part of their core business strategies. Lutron has developed energy efficient technology used to dim lights that results in dramatic energy conservation. It saves over 10 billion kilowatt hours a year which is the equivalent of reducing seven million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Arrow not only designs electronic components and computer products, it now has a business to deal with so-called “end of life electronics”. Its value recovery business repurposes and resells those old electronics and in the process prevents millions of tons from being dumped into landfills. Michael Long proudly describes Arrow as a “green company” saying “leading with purpose for us means guiding technology in a way that helps others.”

Read More: Here’s How Business Leaders Can Improve the Environment, by Fortune.