On Purpose

On Purpose Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement


On Purpose exists to work to bring about a transition to a healthy economy, one that operates within the boundaries of the planet and where all people are able to live fulfilled lives.

Within this mission, we recognise that we have the responsibility to ensure that we don’t replicate the injustices and inequalities of our current economy and society. This applies to both the work we do, and the ideas we seek to share. We want our future world to be one where everyone has the opportunity to lead a fulfilled life, no matter their ethnicity, disability, religion, sex, gender, sexuality or social class.

To date On Purpose has not done enough: our teams and programmes need more diverse voices; we need to learn and do more to be truly inclusive; and ultimately we need to be focusing more on developing leaders to create a just and equitable world.

To help guide our work as a team, across the three cities we work we have agreed the following statement which will act as an organisational commitment and guide our work on this issue from here forward:

On Purpose is working to bring about a transition to a healthy economy, one that operates within the boundaries of the planet and where all people are able to live fulfilled lives. Our mission is to develop the leaders that will create this change. To ensure a real transformation in how our social and economic systems work, we need leaders that represent and understand all kinds of life experiences and different communities. Otherwise we risk reproducing the inequities that exist in the current system.

We need to ensure that the programmes we run and the people we develop through our programmes meet this responsibility, and that all our participants leave our programmes with a deep understanding of the challenges and barriers faced by those experiencing disadvantage.

Beyond this, we want our programmes to feel safe and accessible to everyone, and ensure everyone can feel heard and valued within our programmes. 

We recognise we need to do more to meet this responsibility. We are committed to following through on what we have started. We look forward to sharing our work on this, embracing challenges so we can further improve, and to collaborating with those working towards similar aims.

Alongside this we also have a shorter version of this statement which we will use in contexts where brevity is important, such as a presentation, or an email footer.

On Purpose believes that diverse organisations  with inclusive cultures make us and our society stronger. We are working to build a just and inclusive economy, and urge others to do the same. 

We want to ensure that these statements drive real action.

As an international organisation working in London, Paris and Berlin this action will vary between the countries we work in. As we have explored this together as an organisation, we have discovered the significant differences in cultural and social context across the countries where we work. For example, collecting statistics about personal characteristics such as ethnicity is illegal in France, whereas in the UK it is considered good practice.

This article represents the work that has been and is being undertaken by the On Purpose London team.

In London, our historic ways of working contain a number of approaches which feel are helpful and we will retain. These include:

  • Standardised assessment processes for all Associate Programme candidates, with feedback given to all those attending interviews
  • Unconscious bias training for all Associate Programme interviewers
  • Collection of protected characteristics information for all Associate Programme applicants

In addition, we have also recently introduced the following:

  • Broadening the range of places the Associate Programme is advertised to try to reach new audiences
  • Removal of education as an application form scoring criteria for Associate Programme applicants, as those from disadvantaged backgrounds are far less likely to gain a place at elite universities.
  • Anonymisation of Associate Programme application screening to try to further reduce unconscious bias
  • Analysis of protected characteristics information for all Associate Programme applicants
  • New training sessions for Associate Programme participants on Privilege and Power
  • Making available two zero-fee placements each year for organisations who would not ordinarily be able to afford to work with On Purpose but are doing important frontline work with local communities in London.

Alongside this we have also tried to be a positive voice in the wider conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion, most prominently by hosting an event exploring working in the purpose-driven sector as a Person of Colour

We recognise that this will be ongoing work for us as a team and an organisation and we commit to continually trying to listen, learn and improve. As part of that we commit to working to:

  • Partner with potential leaders from a broader range of backgrounds, representative of the communities we work within and serve
  • Ensure that the views and experiences our participants are exposed to diverse and inclusive of a wide range of different perspectives and experiences
  • Ensure our teams and Board encompass a broad range of experiences
  • Ensure that our team have further, ongoing training in diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Continuing to analyse the progress we are making against our commitments, and sharing the progress we make and the lessons we learn

In our twelve year history we have helped almost 800 people transform their lives and careers, and many thousands more people and organisations through our wider work. We are proud of the impact we have had on our programme participants, the organisations we work with and our wider community. We are committed to continue to provide excellent value for organisations and transformational experiences for our participants and are excited by the opportunity to continue to improve our work. We have much more to do and look forward to sharing our work with you on this journey.