Capitalism: What's compassion got to do with it?
As it turns out, everything.
Imagine a world where CEOs looked at people who purchased their products the same way they looked at a newborn baby or their favorite grandparent. Imagine a business world where, regardless of religion, both founders and customers and all the people in between, looked at each other as if they were each other’s keeper.
Imagine a world where companies possessed deep compassion for their customers, their competition and themselves.
I can see this world on the distant horizon, and I actually know what the special sauce is to get us there: you. Yes, it is you. You, as a consumer, changing consumption behaviors based on company track record. You, as a founder, creating businesses that will change the game towards a more balanced and socially just world. You, the spiritual being having a human experience on planet earth, whose soul purpose could be self-actualization and service, and even happiness.
Change We Can Believe In
Across social enterprise, triple bottom line startups, CSR and impact investing are making the business case for the shift towards social and environmental sustainability. It's a powerful shift and while I am a strong advocate for these initiatives, as well as any endeavor to merge science intobusiness, and to introduce life principles into entrepreneurship and investing.
That is change I can believe in.
Yet, when I shift my focus from beyond the trees to the greater forest, I question our obsession with making the business case to validate the need for business to switch to socially and environmentally friendly practices. Maximizing shareholder benefit, be it to investors or foundation grant makers, remains the number one carrot driving every investment model, including the ‘good’ ones. But should it be, and could we do better?
Is Profiting from CSR Ethical?
Is it ethical to focus on how to profit off of restoring balance to the planet and its populace? Should it even be part of the equation? And what would things look like if love were the driver, instead of profit?
The new paradigm I see on the horizon goes beyond theory, the data and the science, and goes straight for the jugular. The emotional jugular. Making the business casefor the green economy, has been effectively achieved by powerhouses like Hazel Henderson and the GreenTransition Scorecard. I now wonder what my own life, this beautiful world and the big bad beast of capitalism, could look like if it is was led by our heartstrings.