So, what is Conscious Capitalism?

To reintroduce myself and the purpose of this blog– my name is Katie and I’m a senior journalism student at UNC-CH. This semester, I’m studying Conscious Capitalism and how it’s been changing free-enterprise capitalism as a whole. I’ve begun reading the Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey and Raj Sisodia’s book Conscious Capitalism.

So, what is Conscious Capitalism? In his book, Mackey states his vision for Conscious Capitalism: “together, business leaders can liberate the extraordinary power of business and capitalism to create a world in which all people live lives full of purpose, love, and creativity – a world of compassion, freedom and prosperity.” Conscious businesses are businesses galvanized by higher purposes that serve and align the interests of all their major stakeholders, according to Mackey. These are businesses with conscious leaders who care about their people and the company’s purpose. The leaders consciously work towards creating and maintaining a vibrant, positive culture.

Conscious Capitalism


Conscious businesses understand that stakeholders really matter. The original Whole Foods Market flooded in Austin on Memorial Day in 1981. The store was eight feet underwater—all the equipment and inventory in the store were destroyed. The next day, the founders and team members started trying to salvage what they could. Mackey recalls the unexpected happening—dozens of customers and neighbors came to the store to help clean and fix the store. The support from other stakeholders was remarkable— even suppliers offered to resupply Whole Foods on credit. Because of this support, Whole Foods was able to successfully reopen.

Whole Foods Market 2


Mackey stated, “The flood demonstrated to us that all our stakeholders have the potential to form close relationships with us, to care and to commit intensely.” He then posed the question,  “What more proof did we need that stakeholders matter, that they embody the heart, soul and lifeblood of an enterprise?”

Whole Foods is not alone as a conscious business that creates multiple kinds of value and well-being for all stakeholders. Such companies include Patagonia, Google, REI, Warby Parker and many others.

Next time, I’ll discuss what Conscious Capitalism is not. Hint: It’s not Corporate Social Responsibility.

Until then!


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