Our Purpose and Principles

As co-owners we all have a share in the business and a shared commitment to go above and beyond for each other and our customers.

We have a unifying Purpose created by Partners, for Partners. Our Purpose makes it clear why we exist, our ultimate aim as a business and gives us an exciting opportunity to do things differently.

Working in Partnership for a happier world

Our Partnership is an ongoing experiment to find happier, more trusted ways of doing business, for the benefit of us all. 

We work together to create a successful business and a fairer, more sustainable future for Partners, customers, suppliers and communities.

Our Partnership is owned entirely in trust by Partners which means we are more than employees; we share knowledge, power and profit. 

Our Purpose inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide.


Our happier business starts with happier Partners, enjoying worthwhile and satisfying work in a supportive environment we all help to create. 

We treat people with fairness, courtesy and respect, and we work with others who do the same. 

We create an inclusive environment and celebrate diversity with our Partners, customers and the communities we serve. We’re at our best when we all feel welcomed and free to be ourselves.

We take pride in making our customers happy. We put everything we have into everything we do, earning the loyalty and trust that we need to be successful.


We build happier businesses that are honest, fair and free to think and act for the long term. We aim to make sufficient profit to retain our financial independence, invest in our Partners and pursue our Purpose.

Our Partnership is built on democratic principles. We share the responsibilities and rewards of ownership: knowledge, power and profit.

Partner opinion is crucial in driving the actions of our governing authorities: the Partnership Council, the Partnership Board and the Chairman.


We champion the role our Partnership can play in advancing the happiness of the communities we work with and the wellbeing of society.

We build trusted business relationships, acting with integrity and doing what’s right.

We take responsibility for our impact on the planet.  We work tirelessly to protect and restore nature, creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.



Not many companies have a written Constitution that sets out their principles, governance system and rules. The John Lewis Partnership does, for two reasons.

The first is historical. Our Founder signed away his personal ownership rights in a growing retail company to allow future generations of Partners to take forward his 'experiment in industrial democracy'. Not unreasonably, he wanted to leave some clear guidelines for his successors, so that the values which had motivated him would not be eroded with the passage of time.

The second reason looks forward. Spedan Lewis was committed to establishing a 'better form of business', and the challenge for Partners of today is to prove that a business which is not driven by the demands of outside shareholders and which sets high standards of behaviour can continue to thrive in the future.




Learn about our Partnership values created by Partners, for Partners



We are one of the largest employee-owned businesses in the UK