Post-C3 Summit Reflections on Conscious Capitalism

I recently had the honor of being invited to join an exemplary group of Conscious Business Leaders in Lake Arrowhead, CA for the 2010 C3 Summit: Catalyzing Conscious Capitalism. The event, led by the likes of Whole Foods’ John Mackey and the Container Store’s Kip Tindell, represented the fourth consecutive year that C-level executives and thought leaders came together to explore more conscious ways of leading and operating businesses.

The Conscious Capitalism movement continues to attract influencers who are deeply committed to the transformation of business to a conscious model. To be conscious means to be awake. Conscious Businesses generate value for all of their stakeholders (including the planet) not because it is politically correct to do so but because it is the ultimate path to long-term competitive advantage. Conscious Business Leaders acknowledge that profit is one of the the important purposes of business…..but not the sole purpose; they reject a zero sum, trade off orientated view of business and look for creative, synergistic, win-win approaches that offer multiple kinds of value simultaneously to all stakeholders.

Corporations are probably the most influential institutions in the world, and yet many people do not believe that they can be trusted. Instead corporations are widely perceived as greedy, selfish, exploitative, uncaring – and interested only in maximizing profits.

Conscious Capitalism is a philosophy based on the belief that a more complex form of capitalism is emerging that holds the potential for enhancing corporate performance while simultaneously advancing the quality of life for billions of people. The Conscious Capitalism movement challenges business leaders to re-think why their organizations exist and to acknowledge their company’s role in the interdependent global marketplace.

Conscious Capitalists are unapologetic advocates for the 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.

Any meaningful transformation (of business to a conscious model) must incorporate a system-wide perspective that recognizes free markets and entrepreneurship as essential elements of a healthy economy, along with trust, collaboration and value-creation.

It was great to be able to introduce the story of Better World Books to this group of CEO’s and thought leaders and to hear, unequivocally, how much our core business model truly represents the kind of Conscious Business this movement is looking to create. I will continue to engage with the leadership of the Conscious Capital Movement and ensure that Better World Books is well represented….and well understood…..within this community.

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