Conscious Capitalism is the Future — Here’s Why

Guneet Banga
4 min readJan 17, 2023

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In 2019, I looked at my family’s company and I knew it needed something more. So I started Caravel Sustainable Investments — an arm of The Caravel Group dedicated to ESG, impact, and sustainability investing.

I’m also a general partner at Aera VC, where we invest in early-stage, deep tech ventures that will accelerate the world toward a sustainable future.

Why?

Because I’m a capitalist.

Specifically, I’m a conscious capitalist. I want to be a part of the world’s transition into a clean, net-zero emissions future, where we can all breathe easy.

And I believe we all have a role to play.

What is Conscious Capitalism?

The term was coined by Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey and professor Raj Sisodia. The two wrote a book together and have since created a nonprofit to spread the good word.

They define it as a “way of thinking about capitalism and business that better reflects where we are in the human journey, the state of our world today, and the innate potential of business to make a positive impact on the world.”

So… what does that mean?

Mackey and Sisodia broke it down into four guiding principles:

1. Higher purpose: While many businesses exist to make profit, conscious companies exist to accomplish something. This higher purpose not only guides the company — it engages and inspires team members, customers and everyone involved with the organization.

2. Stakeholder orientation: A conscious company is one that’s focused on all parts of its ecosystem. That means it optimizes value not just for shareholders — but for employees, customers, communities, and the environment, too.

3. Conscious leadership: Conscious leaders aren’t all about themselves. They focus on harmonizing the company’s purpose with value for all stakeholders, and lead by example to create a conscious culture.

4. Conscious culture: Fostering a culture of trust, care, and cooperation among the entire company ecosystem is critical for conscious capitalism’s success.

Put these tenets together, and you not only have a company that’s going to be ready for the challenges of tomorrow — you’re going to have a clear, defined purpose for today.

Conscious Capitalism is Not Just Corporate Social Responsibility

We’ve heard a lot recently about how companies can be better stewards of the community. Often, these efforts boil down to laundering the organization’s image so people will think of them in a better light, and potentially forgive past mistakes.

But let’s get something straight: conscious capitalism is not a PR strategy. It’s not greenwashing. It’s not donating to charity. And it’s not a trick to get people to buy more stuff.

It’s building your organization in a mindful way that protects what matters most, and invests in social responsibility for the entire stakeholder ecosystem.

It’s leading by example to foster a culture of respect for all.

It’s supporting the changemakers of tomorrow who are working on big ideas that have the potential to not only slow climate change, but reverse it.

In short: it’s about changing the world in ways our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed.

Because as the ancient Greek proverb goes, a great society is one in which old men plant trees in whose shade they will never sit.

Why is Conscious Capitalism the Future?

Capitalism as we know it is broken. We hear about it on the news every day: the 1 per cent is hoarding wealth, and the rest are left with the scraps.

We can argue about the correct course of action, but deep down we all know: when 42 people hold the same amount of wealth as 3.7 billion, something is seriously wrong.

The world needs more than profit. As climate change worsens and political divisions deepen, companies have a responsibility to stand for something more than making money.

The essence of that responsibility is purpose. Why does your company do the things it does? Business leaders should consider how their organizations impact not only shareholders, but the world around them.

Imagine if every company, large and small, operated in this way. Imagine if the top line in every shareholder report detailed how the company made the world a better place, and how they planned to build on that success in the future.

Humans have tried tribalism, greed and blaming the other. It’s time to come together to build something better, for everyone.

I believe conscious capitalism is the future, because I believe in humanity. And I believe that this growing movement of people can and will change the world for the better.

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Guneet Banga

Guneet Banga is an Executive Director of The Caravel Group, leading them into clean technology, driven primarily through Caravel Sustainable Investments (CSI).