What is Polaris?

Family Business as a Force for Good

Polaris Video

Polaris is also commonly known as the North Star and used as a reference point for navigators and astronomers. Family businesses can draw inspiration from the Polaris framework as they journey to discover their True North – a clarity of purpose that uniquely expresses their calling and guides their every decision.



At our 22nd Global Summit in Singapore in 2011, FBN members affirmed our promise to promote a business model that will sustain present and future generations; a commitment encapsulated in our Pledge for ‘A Sustainable Future’.


Impact Framework for Family Businesses

To enable members to deliver on the Pledge, we developed Polaris – a comprehensive framework to guide family businesses on this journey. Polaris is named for the North Star, a guiding light that has been used for thousands of years by explorers as its position on the northern sky almost exactly marks the Earth’s geographic north pole. Just as our forefathers depended on this guiding star, family businesses can draw inspiration from the Polaris Framework as we journey to find our True North – a clarity of purpose that uniquely expresses our calling and guides our every decision.

Polaris incorporates a holistic approach to sustainability that has economic, environmental, social and cultural dimensions. True sustainability enables positive change, encompasses environmental stewardship, embraces fiscal responsibility and enriches future generations.

Measure What Matters – The PIA

Polaris Impact Assessment – powered by B Lab

Family Business

To enable FBN members to measure and improve sustainability practices, FBN is partnering with B Lab to develop the Polaris Impact Assessment (PIA). The PIA is a version of B Lab’s Impact Assessment that has been specifically customized for family businesses. The standard version of the B Lab assessment is well-established globally having been taken by over 40,000 companies in over 50 countries to drive sustainability performance and improve their impacts.

Studies have shown that companies that have sustainability at its core attract talent, build credibility and outperform competitors. So join fellow FBN members in accelerating your sustainability journey by taking these four simple steps.


Thought Leadership

Business thrives when society flourishes. View case studies, articles, tools and models in our Polaris Publications developed especially for FBN family businesses who want to create and scale positive impacts.

Polaris Volume 3 – Family Business as a Force for Good

(November 2017)

As a community of purpose-driven businesses, we aim to be net-positive. We need to not only minimise harm but to maximise good and put back into society and the environment more than we take out. The 2017 Polaris publication outlines new frameworks for understanding and accelerating your impact as it examines the spectrum of organisation types and the evolution of frameworks that blend business and social value. The case studies included in this year’s publication further highlight the transformative role of businesses to be a powerful force for the common good.

Vocation of the Business Leader – Reflections from a Family Business Perspective

(May 2017)

Developed in concert with Vatican leaders and the FBN Thought and Religious Leaders Group, the document acknowledges the pressures causing business leaders to believe that their professional lives are incompatible with their spiritual lives. It urges leaders to eschew a divided life and embark on the alternative path of servant leadership. The document further explores the role of family businesses in the formation of business leaders as responsible stewards and family businesses as agents of social and economic inclusion.

Polaris Volume 2 – Building a Flourishing Family Business

(November 2016)

Flourishing family businesses invest in communities to engage all stakeholders and promote development. This publication highlights the importance of vibrant communities for flourishing family businesses and explores opportunities identified in the UN SDGs. It outlines the Polaris Impact Assessment (PIA) and introduces the Polaris Peer Groups – support networks that empower family members to accelerate their journey and further their positive impacts.

Polaris Volume 1 – Tools & Inspiration from Across the Network for Building a Sustainable Family Business

(October 2015)

2015 was a watershed year for sustainability with the introduction of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the opportunity for business to be a global force for good. Learn how FBN members are contributing to these goals, engage with tools to chart your True North and discover why sustainability is the key driver of innovation.

Family Conversations
on Sustainability

(September 2015)

A family has many voices – and often emotional ones, making it hard to bring all these voices into harmony. To encourage smooth and constructive family meetings on creating positive impacts, we have created Family Conversations on Sustainability – a guide that sets out useful principles and practical suggestions for conducting effective, multi-generational meetings.

A Guide to Polaris

(October 2014)

Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. As the family business progresses on this journey, cultures of both the family and business evolve, engagement increases and spheres of influence expand. The publication highlights at each stage the key focus, outcomes, process and stakeholders that need to be engaged. It maps out critical activities including Forming Sustainability Circles (Setting the Stage), Stakeholder Mapping (Holding the Mirror) and Measuring the True Cost of Business (Innovating for the Future).

Families for a
Sustainable Future

(October 2014)

An overview of Polaris underlining why family businesses are the front-runners for sustainability. Families for a Sustainable Future highlights the role of the family and the champion within it, and features the five-stage sustainability roadmap for family business.

Truth to Power –
Al Gore at the Polaris Training for NextGen Leaders

(July 2017)

Nobel laureate Al Gore combines cutting-edge research from top scientists around the world with photos, personal anecdotes, and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. He shares his slides and talking points with NextGen Polaris Champions as he challenges us with three questions – Must we Change? Can we Change? Will we Change?

Log on to FBN XChange -> Polaris for Al Gore’s slides and other PTAG presentations and resources.