Media Coverage

Elevating humanity through business

Huff Post: Why Business is a Force for Good, Yes Really

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Cut to the evil businessman cackling as he counts his coins while his workers slave away in the salt mines, giving their lifeblood for his riches.

We all know the story. It’s the common narrative of pop culture movies and TV shows.

But what if this old story isn’t true?

Consider this:

Prior to the Industrial revolution, most of the world lived in poverty. According to research from the World Bank in the year 1000, real GDP per capita was $435 per year (in today’s dollars) 750 years later, in 1750, it was only $667. During the first few thousand years of our existence, for most humans, life was sheer survival. People spent their days scrounging for food and seeking shelter. Very few lived past forty.

In the 150 years after the Industrial Revolution, real GDP rose to $2,113 and by 2013 it was $13,100.

Many people on the planet are still in survival mode, but that’s not because of business. It’s actually the absence of commerce that keeps people impoverished.

Read more at Huff Post Business.

Entrepreneur: Food With Thought

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Food With Thought: How One Franchise Is Making the World a Better Place Through Sandwiches

The problem with being generous is that eventually word gets out. That’s what Jeff Sinelli, founder of the 11-year-old Dallas-based sandwich franchise Which Wich, discovered.

Philanthropy was always a core element of his concept, with each of his 300-plus franchises supporting two to three charities per year, and corporate pitching in toward dozens more. Eventually, requests for donations got to be overwhelming.

“There were so many people asking for contributions, we could have hired a full-time staff member just to deal with it,” Sinelli recalls. “I’d be at dinner with my wife talking about it, and we’d just say, ‘There has to be a better way.’”

He found that solution after meeting Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, at the Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit in 2013. Sinelli’s business card includes the line “Making the world a better place,” and Tindell asked him how he was doing that.

“We have our mission statement on our cards, on our walls, in books,” Sinelli says, “but nobody had ever called me on it.”

Continue reading at Entrepreneur

Bloomberg: Will Investors Put the Lid on the Container Store’s Generous Wages?

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A few years ago, Kip Tindell found himself at a crossroads. Tindell is chief executive officer of the Container Store, the retail company he co-founded in Dallas in 1978. He’s worked with his wife, Sharon, the entire time, and many other executives have been there for decades, too. Tindell likes to fly-fish and daydream. He’s slow-twitch.

Tindell’s ambitions had grown over time. He realized the Container Store, which had been operating in big metropolitan areas, could expand into smaller cities. He also wanted to offer more employees stock in the company. But he was conflicted. “There are only a few things you can do to finance that,” he says. “My dad did not leave me $3 billion.”

The private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, which bought a majority stake in the Container Store in 2007, let Tindell run the company as he saw fit. Looking for another private equity firm as compatible as Leonard Green would be difficult. “How are we going to find another one that can deal with us?” he wondered. He didn’t want to take on more debt. He ruled out selling the company. “You subjugate your brand and management team, and that’s not good,” he says. He decided the best option was to take the Container Store public.

Tindell began promoting the company to potential investors in October 2013. “Hopefully we’ll get along well with our shareholders,” he told his executives. “We like the longer-term ones better than the shorter-term ones.” The Container Store’s stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 1 of that year. “I was the guy on the floor who wasn’t smiling when the stock price doubled the first day,” he says. The demands of leading a public company were so intense, he adds, that a few months later he came down with pneumonia.

Forbes: Salesforce CEO Slams ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’: Maximizing Shareholder Value

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Jack Welch has called it “the dumbest idea in the world.”

Vinci Group Chairman and CEO Xavier Huillard has called it “totally idiotic.”

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has said that “customers are number one; employees are number two and shareholders are number three.”

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever [UN], has denounced “the cult of shareholder value.”

John Mackey at Whole Foods [WFM] has condemned businesses that “view their purpose as profit maximization and treat all participants in the system as means to that end.”

This week, Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce [CRM] joined these CEOs and declared in an article in the Huffington Post that this still-pervasive business theory is “wrong. The business of business isn’t just about creating profits for shareholders — it’s also about improving the state of the world and driving stakeholder value.”

Read more at Forbes

University of Tampa Profiles Chapter Founder

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The University of Tampa interviewed Conscious Capitalism Florida president and CEO Vinny Tafuro following the successful Benefit Corporation workshop held in partnership with the UT Entrepreneurs Sustainability Board last month.

The free event featured Jef Conley and Elena Gibson of Sequil Systems of Delray Beach, an environmental consulting firm, that recently became one of Florida’s first Benefit Corporations and was held in collaboration with Florida Next, the US Green Chamber, the Florida Bar Association, and B Lab the nonprofit behind the Benefit Corporation.

Vincent Tafuro Jr. ’16 says that if you explain conscious capitalism to a Baby Boomer, they typically ask, “What is the return on investment?” But if you ask a college student, they typically say, “Why would you do business any other way?”

Read more at UT Social Entrepreneur Spreads Conscious Capitalism.

Forbes: Is Love The Next Buzzword In Business?

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By Corey Michael Blake – Recently, I stood in a hotel ballroom with 199 other CEOs of companies worth $5 million and up. Some people ran smaller organizations like I do. Some led $60 billion-dollar empires. Amidst the leather couches and organic food treats, I listened for two days as they discussed the future of capitalism and what a conscious company is. And then in a moment of clarity, the room came into focus and I realized…they’re totally missing the boat.

That’s not to say that I was surrounded by people who are in any way bad. These are some amazing folks sporting impressive resumes 20 pages deep with accomplishments and awards. They are good people working hard to connect with one another. But too may of them are chasing the wrong definition of what it means to be conscious.

I was reminded of what Tom Brokaw once said: “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”

Continue reading at Forbes

Bold Ideas About Changes In Capitalism By Doug Rauch On Cutting Edge Consciousness

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Capitalism is at the crossroads of two conflicting philosophies—the dilemma of doing well by doing good or doing good by doing well.

“Simply looking to maximize shareholder value is dangerous,” according to Doug Rauch, the former President of Trader Joes, who currently serves as the CEO of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Getting as much as one can, for as little as possible, is not good business. It seems that these hosts and this guest believe that the world is ready for a new way of doing business, where goodwill is the bottom line and reciprocating is the highest order of business priority.

In a compelling interview with Barnet Bain and Freeman Michaels on the Cutting Edge Consciousness ( radio program, Rauch stated, “Business, properly executed, is the most powerful system for progress and human cooperation ever conceived.”

Continue Reading

Food Waste – Tampa Cafe Understands Global Implications

Florida Blog

Sustainability in our food supply is a top concern for Conscious Capitalism because by 2050, the world population is expected to grow to more than nine billion and good nutrition is what keeps the world alive and allows our bodies and minds to thrive. Last week we shared an 83 Degrees article about the Sustany Sustainable Business Program organized by the nonprofit Sustany Foundation and the Tampa Downtown Partnership. The program in partnership with the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa is in it’s inaugural year where “10 participant businesses teamed up with students… to identify best practices for improving environmental sustainability” during a structured three-month program .

One of those businesses, Duckweed Urban Market was recognized last week in Creative Loafing for their approach to reducing food waste. The market opened a “café as a buffer for when the grocery needed help getting rid of product,” café manager Derek Grimsley said. Re-purposing of food that is not perfect or past the sell-by date is part of a national trend to reduce the staggering amount of food waste globally.

Utilizing food waste to feed a growing, “nutritionally insecure” world is an effort that Conscious Capitalism national CEO Doug Rauch understands.  “It’s critical that we reframe our thinking about this excess food; that up to 40 percent of what we grow we’re not consuming and for reasons that make no sense”. Rauch is also the founder of the Daily Table, a restaurant and food store in Dorchester, Mass., that will offer expired but viable produce and home-cooked meals at reduced prices.

Rauch gave the keynote address during the this week’s Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans. IFT developed an infographic that we’ve included on this page to educate people about how much food is wasted because of expiration dates.

New ‘Benefit Corporation’ Lets Companies Focus on Triple Bottom Line

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Governor Rick Scott on Friday signed legislation allowing the formation of Benefit Corporations and Social Purposed Corporations in Florida. These new for-profit corporate structures differ from traditional corporations by creating a general benefit to society or the environment or by allowing a company’s founders to choose a specific social purpose to focus on.

These corporations are required to meet minimum standards for responsibility, transparency and accountability and are expected to balance the needs of the triple bottom line, commonly understood as people, planet, and profits. “Benefit Corporations and more responsible business practices in general are a hot topic in Florida right now,” says Vinny Tafuro, president and CEO of Conscious Capitalism Florida. “Floridians are starting to expect companies to act like responsible adults.”

Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper caught up with Tafuro the week following the 2014 Sustainable Business Awards luncheon. Held at the University of Tampa’s Vaughn Center, the annual event honors companies that “undoubtedly are behaving like adults,” Hooper wrote, “embracing responsibility, creating a caring work environment, reaping the benefits and sleeping well at night knowing that their work has made the planet just a little bit better.”

The legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2014 for anyone interesting forming a Benefit Corporation. Conscious Capitalism Florida is working with B Lab, The US Green Chamber, Florida NEXT, and the Florida Bar Association to host an education event later this year to explain the benefits and details of the new corporate structure to Florida’s entrepreneurial and business communities.

Fast Company: 5 Myths Socially Conscious Entrepreneurs Need to Ignore

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Whether you call it shared value of Benefit Corporations, the future of Capitalism –Companies that Care– is creating a meaningful competitive edge for the businesses that embrace it.

A series of powerful forces are changing business as we know it. From the speed of communication to information accessibility, all lead to increased transparency and a more global perspective.

Whether we choose to define the newest iteration of capitalism as Shared Value,Conscious CapitalismInstitutional LogicBenefit CorporationsTriple Bottom Line,SRIESG, or Regenerative Capitalism, the fact is companies that don’t update their business practices are significantly less likely to thrive. Meanwhile, those that harness the power of purpose are capturing significant value and creating meaningful competitive advantages along the way.

Changes in the investment community reflect signs of this shift: In 2013, Harvard’s $30 billion endowment as well as the $170 billion asset manager Carlyle Group appointed their first Chief Sustainability Officers to administer Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) strategies. And both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have announced the launch of sizable sustainable and social impact investment funds.

This new, holistic approach to business may be the most significant movement of our time, as well as the most misunderstood. Below are five pervasive myths surrounding stakeholder capitalism today:


Continue reading the article at Fast Company