Sustainable Capitalism as promulgated by Al Gore and David Blood and explained in the book: Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Senseby John Ikerd and others seeks to give Capitalism the long-term perspective it so sorely lacks. They also grapple with the issue of value and seek to tie financial gain to the creation of real and lasting value. This approach focuses on transparency and measure as a means to ensure business takes into account the needs of the entire planet.
Are the missions of sustainability and green business in opposition to capitalism? There are those who think so and those who embrace Conscious Capitalism and Sustainable Capitalism as a statement about where Capitalism is and should go.
Ann Charles, blogging for FastCompany said:
"Mr. Haque makes the point in The Capitalist's Paradox that what's standing in the way of great capitalism today might just be yesterday's capitalists--"trying at every turn to stifle competition, squelch information, earn an unfair advantage, and extract value from people, nature, and the future, instead of creating authentic, thick, shared value for them."
That sure sounds like the belief system that has gotten us into all of this trouble, all right. It's what happens when the fear of scarcity activates our survival instincts and when we really and truly believe that we only have to worry about our own / personal survival. That sense of separation coupled with, "no ones the boss of me" attitude lends itself very well to a justification of power over, manipulation and, yes, even greed as a survival mechanism.
Conscious Capitalism, as supported by John Mackey of Whole Foods and Kip Tindell of The Container Store, among others, and the Conscious Capitalism Institute defines itself by saying, "Conscious Capitalists are unapologetic advocates for free markets, entrepreneurship, competition, freedom to trade, property rights, freedom to contract, and the rule of law. They recognize that these are essential elements of a healthy, functioning economy, as are trust, compassion, collaboration, and value-creation. That being said, they are much more values focused, particularly in their concerns about leadership.
Conscious leadership means, to be conscious means to be awake. To lead consciously means to be authentic, to be aware of the implications of one’s decisions, and to maintain an ongoing commitment to learning and personal growth. Conscious Leaders adopt a holistic worldview that moves beyond the limitations of traditional machine metaphors for business. They view their enterprises as part of a complex, interdependent, and evolving system with multiple constituencies. Conscious Leaders see that profit is one of the important purposes of the business, but not the sole purpose. Most importantly, they reject a zero-sum, trade-off oriented view of business and look for creative synergistic win-win approaches that offer multiple kinds of value simultaneously to all stakeholders."
At the heart of both approaches is the need to shift people's behavior in ways that work within the rhythms and boundaries of nature. The Sustainable Values Set™, by making nature's approach to sustaining life available for everyday decision-making, provides a framework that ensures intent and actions align.
~ Kathryn works with leaders at all levels to achieve true impact as they strive for the best results. Get in touch to explore the benefits. You might also find the Culture, Values and Unintended Consequences workbook useful.
Kathryn Alexander, MA: futurist, speaker, author coach, her systems thinking approach to values and ethics enables deep change by impactful leaders.