Conscious Capitalism: More Than Just Profit Making

The Social Enterprise Summit 2016 on the topic ‘Doing Business with a Conscience’ was held in Mumbai on July 1. The summit brought together civil society leaders, social enterprises, and corporates on a common platform which included names like Raj Sisodia, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Conscious Capitalism Inc., Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Businessworld, and Dr. Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Partner, Roland Berger.

Raj Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism more than Profit

Conscious Capitalism is gradually emerging as a strong and viable form of doing business with a conscience. There is a growing network of global organizations and social enterprises, which are looking beyond the narrow focus on economic profit or philanthropy and towards the whole business idea of creating shared value. The key point is that a business can be more successful, if it changes focus from solely making a profit towards balancing the interests of key stakeholders – customers, employees, investors, communities, suppliers and the environment.

Importance of Conscious Capitalism
Speaking about the importance of ‘Conscious Capitalism’, Raj Sisodia began with the Caterpillar and Butterfly example to highlight the difference between regular businesses and those that adopt conscious capitalism as its core business philosophy.

“It is all about choice, whether you want to operate at the caterpillar level, which is the basic level, or get transformed into a butterfly. Corporates can also operate at the caterpillar level or transform their business to the next level, the choice of this transformation is completely in our hands,” said Sisodia.

Sisodia also spoke about how the word ‘Capitalism’, over the years has increasingly adopted a negative connotation. He said, “Capitalism is seen as a concept of exploitation, which is a phenomenon that has been created by its critics who fail to see how ‘Capitalism’ as a philosophy has helped people prosper across the globe. We have been working to understand how conscious businesses are able to operate with superior financial results while creating many forms of wealth and well being for all of their stakeholders, including society. So, to say Capitalism is a negative concept is not true.”

Conscious Capitalism is helping end poverty
Highlighting how, unlike its negative representation, Capitalism is helping transform lives and is providing greater opportunities for economic prosperity, Sisodia added, “The profit only mindset adopted by unconscious capitalism has given rise to greater economic disparity. On the other hand, Conscious Capitalism is more inclusive when it comes to creating a financially viable ecosystem. It is important to practice Capitalism in a right manner to see its benefits.”

Conscious Capitalism and rise of feminine values
Explaining how ‘Conscious Capitalism is narrowing gender inequalities, Sisodia pointed out how the language of business is gradually shifting to more feminine valyes like compassion, care, nurturing etc., from its military inspired terminology.

“Conscious Capitalism has been able to reduce gender disparity, increase lifespan and provide better life conditions. Though the confidence in big businesses has plummeted, the chief reason is that something has gone wrong with the narrative of capitalism.”

Tenets of Conscious Capitalism
According to Sisodia, there are four basic tenets of Conscious Capitalism which include:

Higher Purpose
Every business should have a higher purpose that transcends making money. It is the difference the company is trying to make in the world. By focusing on its Higher Purpose, a business inspires, engages and energizes its stakeholders.

Stakeholder Orientation:

Business needs to create value with and for its various stakeholders. Like the life forms in an ecosystem, healthy stakeholders lead to a healthy business system.

Conscious Leadership
Conscious Leaders understand and embrace the higher purpose of business and focus on creating value for and harmonizing the interests of the business stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture.

Conscious Culture
The values, principles, practices – underlying the social fabric of a business, which permeates the atmosphere of a business and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the purpose, people, and processes that comprise the company.

Written by Ruhail Amin

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