Navigating Corporate Purpose: Insights from Canadian Business Leaders


As the business world’s conversations about success change rapidly, more attention is being paid to the concept of the Purpose Economy.

The Canadian Purpose Economy Project is helping businesses adopt, disclose, and authentically embed a social purpose across their operations and relationships, and collaborate with others to achieve it. This approach challenges traditional metrics, prioritizing meaningful impact alongside financial gain.

At Armour Valve, we find ourselves at the emerging stages of this transformative journey, with a deep-seated belief that there is more for us to learn than to teach.

Liz McBeth, Armour Valve President, was featured as a panelist in The Globe & Mail webcast featuring business leaders who are in the various stages of building out corporate purpose plans and missions. The recording is available to watch in the subsequent article, “The Purpose Economy: Reshaping the Metrics of Business Success.” Liz provides valuable insights during the discussion into this evolving approach. She provides a unique perspective as the Chair of Family Enterprise Canada’s (FEC’s) Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD) committee. We encourage you to watch the full webinar from Globe & Mail, however, here are some of our key takeaways for Canadian Business Leaders.


Corporate Purpose as a Core Strategy

A purpose-driven organization is one that aligns its operations, strategies, and collaborations around a core mission to address social needs and create meaningful impact. More and more modern businesses are choosing to prioritize their purpose alongside financial success.

At Armour Valve, we are dedicated to transforming infrastructure with high-quality valves and solutions that prioritize worker safety and sustainability. This goal is encapsulated in our purpose statement: “We exist to transform infrastructure for a healthy, thriving planet.” We are committed to being transparent and setting a standard for sustainable business practices.

Liz outlines the transition to incorporating social purpose into Armour Valve’s portfolio by adding new and diverse technologies alongside our existing suppliers while helping them transition to more environmentally friendly technologies and processes. Liz states, “Our clients have an important role to play in society, essentially keeping our homes warm and the lights on. That’s why society is increasingly demanding that they do this in a way that ensures the well-being of people and the planet for future generations. So, they’re transitioning to cleaner technologies and more circular processes, and we are supporting them through that transition.”

Adopting a social purpose requires embedding it into every aspect of an organization, from culture to performance metrics to products. This holistic integration is essential to maintain authenticity and prevent purpose washing. David Redfern, President and CEO of Lafarge in Eastern Canada, highlights the transformative power of aligning business architecture with a clear purpose. He points out that such alignment streamlines effective decision-making and boosts innovation and speed.


Benefits of Adopting a Social Purpose

Coro Strandberg, Cofounder and Chair of the Canadian Purpose Economy Project notes several benefits to adopting a social purpose. Research indicates that employees overwhelmingly prefer working for companies with a social purpose, leading to increased recruitment appeal, higher retention rates, and enhanced productivity and engagement. Customers, too, show a preference for businesses that contribute positively to society, with a majority seeking brands that address societal issues. CEOs have noted that a social purpose provides strategic focus, improving the ability to navigate challenges and make quick, aligned decisions. This strategic clarity attracts investors who see purpose-driven companies as poised for long-term profitability. To fully realize these benefits, businesses must authentically embed their social purpose across all operations, from board oversight to corporate strategy.


Challenges Faced by Business Leaders and Solutions for Success

Maureen Young, Vice President of Social Purpose at Coast Capital outlines how this process to achieving purpose takes a significant amount of time, research, and input from stakeholders in order to create value and meaningful impact.

Furthermore, Liz reflects on the challenges that come with the social purpose journey, “Defining a purpose requires time, patience, and a great deal of communication and listening. It’s high stakes because the purpose must be authentic to your business, accurately reflecting the social need that you exist to fulfill. It’s aspirational, and it needs to inspire and engage both internal and external stakeholders. So, it is not a simple process to discover and fine-tune the statement.”

In Armour Valve’s case, the process involved a prolonged effort of raising awareness, communicating with, and listening to employees, customers, and stakeholders to truly grasp our reason for existence. Liz elaborates on the purpose driving Armour Valve, emphasizing that, for us, it’s about transforming infrastructure for a healthy, thriving planet.” This mission underscores the industry’s role but also emphasizes a more holistic responsibility towards people and the planet. This viewpoint guides the Armour Valve team as we strive to integrate meaningful practices into all aspects of our work, from developing our portfolio to engaging with our community. Some of the benefits Liz has noticed from incorporating social purpose into the business and embedding it in our practices in the last year include stronger team dynamics and more team cohesion.

Maureen highlights the complexities within procurement and strategic supplier partnerships, emphasizing the potential to align suppliers and partners with the company’s values, thereby uncovering innovative avenues to generate impact. At Armour Valve, we are taking steps to ensure new partners and suppliers align with our purpose and contribute to offering products that align with our goals. We are also working towards measuring our performance around purpose by introducing specific metrics like employee engagement and the percentage of products that fit our purpose.

Join Armour Valve on Our Social Purpose Journey

At Armour Valve, the equipment we supply must be low or no emission due to the nature of the processes we cater to. Leaks and the use of improperly applied equipment can cause significant environmental damage and even lead to injuries or fatalities. We’ve always prioritized ensuring our equipment is of the highest quality. Now, with the energy transition underway and a pressing need to address emissions, we’re seeing new processes and disruptive technologies emerge. We’re working on incorporating these innovative technologies into our portfolio as part of a long-term strategy. We are not looking to make an abrupt shift away from our current customers and established suppliers, but rather gradually expand and enhance our product range. This approach will enable us to better support cleaner processes and technologies.

Inspired by our President, Liz, and driven by a commitment that goes beyond conventional business metrics, we’re excited about the journey ahead. We’ve recently provided an update on our social purpose journey, providing some insights and key changes we’ve been making to support our purpose statement. We’re just starting, and we invite our community, partners, and colleagues to join us in this meaningful pursuit toward a sustainable and impactful future.

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Marc Soucy, P.Eng

National Sales Manager

I am a mechanical engineer with 30 years of plant, sales and service experience. I have been on both sides of the desk and can relate with you when issues arise in the plant. You can trust that I won’t recommend a product unless I know that it will do the job for you.

Marc Soucy, P.Eng

Directeur des ventes nationales

J’ai un diplôme en génie mécanique avec 30 ans d’expérience dans les usines, les ventes, et le service. J’ai été de chaque côté du bureau et je comprends lorsque des problèmes font surface dans l’usine, l’importance que l’on doit y apporter. Vous pouvez être sûr que je ne recommanderai pas un produit à moins que je sache qu’il convient à votre application.