Just What Exactly Is Conscious Capitalism? 

Berry Mathew

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Just What Exactly Is Conscious Capitalism? 

Conscious capitalism is a term used to describe a business philosophy that focuses on providing value not only for its stockholders, but also the customers, employees, suppliers, investors, communities, and environment that are impacted by the business. Most businesses just focus on providing value for their shareholders (those that own a portion of the company), whereas businesses practicing conscious capitalism focus on providing value for all stakeholders (those who are impacted by the various activities of the company).

There are a lot of people and businesses worldwide who practice conscious capitalism, including this Medium author. This article will take a look at other individuals and businesses that practice conscious capitalism. But first let’s talk about what exactly conscious capitalism is.

Breaking Down Conscious Capitalism

The term “Conscious Capitalism” was popularized by the founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, along with marketing professor and speaker Raj Sisodia. They wrote a book together called “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business,” and since then the term has taken off. 

In addition to John Mackey and Raj Sisodia promoting conscious capitalism, the philosophy has become widespread due to rising social and environmental awareness and growing distrust toward the traditional capitalist model. 

Additionally, it has been shown in studies, such as this one published in the Harvard Business Review, that companies that practice conscious capitalism outperform those that do not.

One factor that may be contributing to the success of conscious capitalist companies compared to traditional capitalist companies is the rising change in how investors are gravitating toward sustainable options.

Additionally, companies that practice conscious capitalism see an increase in productivity among their workers because employees are being included in the stakeholders of the company. This is another factor that leads to conscious capitalist companies outperforming traditional ones.

For example, The Container Store’s CEO Kip Tindell pays full-time sales employees a minimum of $50,000 per year, which is nearly double the average rate. The result is that his employees are three times as productive as the average worker. 

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Companies That Practice Conscious Capitalism

Each year, more and more companies switch their business models to conscious capitalism. Some of the companies practicing this business philosophy are listed here:

  • Whole Foods

Given how the term was practically coined by the founder of Whole Foods, you would expect the organic grocery store chain to be a leader in conscious capitalism — and they are. With some of the best quality standards in the industry, Whole Foods makes sure their customers are getting the best value by making sure everything is up to standard, from the ingredients in the products to the animal welfare and environmental impact that comes from producing them. 

Whole Foods also is huge on sustainability, and is committed to reducing its impact on the environment by using renewable products, reducing waste, and promoting sustainability to its employees and customer base. 

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  • Patagonia

Patagonia is a clothing brand that specializes in outdoor gear and its commitment to conscious capitalism. They use recycled and organic materials to produce their clothing, and are one of the largest clothing brands to offer a clothing repair program. This is obviously much more sustainable than the fast fashion many brands opt for these days.  Patagonia customers can send in their broken clothing for a cheap or free repair, something not many other clothing brands offer. 

Patagonia also gives back to environmental organizations through donating 1% of their profits to various environmental causes. 

There are other companies that practice conscious capitalism. We hope that you will take the time to research and support them, both as an investor and consumer.