Two things wake me up on a workday morning: a good cup of coffee and MSNBC’s Morning Joe news program. Today was no exception. I had never heard the term “conscious capitalism” before this morning’s show. The hosts interviewed Whole Foods Market’s co-CEO John Mackey, who was there to promote a book he co-authored: Conscious Capitalism. The segment piqued my interest.
What is conscious capitalism? Simply put, it means that corporations must have a higher purpose than just making money. Corporations that have embraced conscious capitalism pursue more transcendent goals like responsibility to the community and the environment and employee and customer satisfaction. Conscious capitalism includes developing relationships with vendors that follow sustainable practices and severing ties with those that do not. A good example is that of a food chain that refuses to transact business with a company that sells seafood sourced from over fished waterways. Or how about banks that lend collateral-free funds to poor women so they can start their own businesses and achieve financial independence?
I will think of these companies the next time I hear a news report about record corporate profits and obscene bonus payouts. To paraphrase a line from the 1980s movie Wall Street: How many yachts can a CEO water ski behind? Must it always have to be about the money?