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3p Weekend: Six Oddest Corporate Mission Statements

By Jen Boynton

With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

Even the most nefarious corporation thinks highly of itself. After all, it is adding value for someone, somewhere -- even if its operations have negative impacts as well. That's why most mission statements make the company's work sound truly important. However these corporate mission statements have us scratching our heads...

American Standard Company:  Be the best in the eyes of our customers, employees and shareholders.

Isn't that every company's goal? American Standard Company makes air conditioning, plumbing and braking products -- all legitimately useful. Why not talk about the valuable air they keep cool, water they keep flowing, and cars they keep stopped when they should be stopped?

Barnes & Noble: Our mission is to operate the best specialty retail business in America, regardless of the product we sell.  Because the product we sell is books, our aspirations must be consistent with the promise and the ideals of the volumes which line our shelves.  To say that our mission exists independent of the product we sell is to demean the importance and the distinction of being booksellers.

That's just the first of a three paragraph mission statement, and yet sentence one manages to contradict sentence 3.

Chevron: At the heart of The Chevron Way is our Vision to be the global energy company most admired for its people, partnership and performance.

Chevron is an oil and gas company, which is all well and good. There is tremendous demand for their products. Why is admiration so important? And admiration of the people and partnerships?

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: The purpose of the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is to earn money for its shareholders and increase the value of their investment. We will do that through growing the company, controlling assets and properly structuring the balance sheet, thereby increasing EPS, cash flow, and return on invested capital. 

Way to call it like it is, Cooper Tire and Rubber! But don't you want to make quality tires just a little bit?

Microsoft At Microsoft, our mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

That's lofty Microsoft! That's what we thought parents were for.

The Walt Disney Company to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world."

Entertainment, we buy, but we think Disney should leave providing information to the internet.

How does your company's mission statement stack up?

Image credit: theriantravels

Jen Boynton headshot

Jen Boynton is the former Editor-in-Chief of TriplePundit. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and has helped organizations including SAP, PwC and Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. She is based in San Diego, California. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

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