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3 December, 2021

Boots the Chemist is a high street institution, and a household name.

It’s on every high street, it’s a trusted source of information about our health, and a part of all of our lives – 95% of the UK population visit a Boots store every year. It always seems to us like the embodiment of what a purpose led business could be. What, after all, could be more purpose driven than helping the British public be healthier and happier? Stepping into the gaps that the NHS can’t fill, taking the pressure off it (did you know that pharmacists can dispense a surprisingly large number of medicines over the counter without a prescription?) and making straightforward and trusted healthcare advice easily accessible to everyone.

Which is why we’ve also felt it was something of a pity it never seems to have really grasped this opportunity with both hands and worked to capture the public’s imagination about what it does and the value it brings to the world.

Rather than focusing its corporate narrative on healthy communities around the partnerships it has with charities and local causes and initiatives, it should tell the story of how it delivers significant and meaningful impact to the lives of people throughout the country day in, day out, through the core of what it does. To give just one small example – here at Good Business we’ve booked and gone for our flu jabs at out local branch of Boots – not only was it quick and efficient, it’s also good for us as individuals, good for the team, good for taking the pressure off the NHS. Some businesses have to search to articulate the value they deliver, clutching at meaning because what they do it is, in reality, non-essential.

Boots is the opposite. We’d love to see it grasping the mantle of its purpose in both hands – and moving in an emphatic way to find its place among the progressive businesses that make the most of the role they play in our lives, and the fact that we’re better for them being around.

By Claire Jost

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