Conscious Capitalism

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Blake Mycoskie Lots of people love to talk about conscious capitalism and try to make the case that — if you behave in a respectful and loving way — you can make A LOT of money while caring for your employees, feeding the homeless, saving the children and shrinking your footprint on the earth.

It was a message that delivered to a bunch of HR professionals, this week, in Chicago at the 2013 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition.

And I don’t hate the idea of being good to people and the planet, but capitalism is hard and tough. The average profit margin — the amount by which revenue from sales exceeds costs in a business — is about 8%. That’s not a lot of money. And while some companies can make money by being good stewards, a majority of companies fail and never make money at all.

So does this mean that companies would do better — and have bigger profits — if they followed the principles of conscious capitalism? I’m not sure the logic, or the data sample size of the companies participating in this movement, gives us a clear picture.

I do know it’s never a bad idea to treat people with respect and dignity. It’s never okay to abuse your workers. Equal pay for equal work matters. And it’s immoral to pollute our environment and mistreat animals in the name of “progress.”

But I am not sure if it really “pays to care” or if something else is driving revenue and profits in these organizations.

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