Is COVID-19 the catapult that will vault us into a new era of Capitalism With Care?
Kent Gregoire is an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Boston and CEO of Symphony Advantage, which helps CEOs achieve ongoing personal and professional success through strategic thinking, advice and planning.
During the Great Recession of 2008-10, Kent guided dozens of CEOs and their companies successfully through the crisis and positioned them to capitalize on the economic expansion that followed. We asked Kent how embracing conscious capitalism during the COVID-19 crisis can benefit companies both in the short- and long-term. Here’s what he shared:
I invite you―CEOs, entrepreneurs, business leaders―to learn how our collective behavior toward planet Earth played a role in the COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn’t need to be that way, and Capitalism With Care is the most effective business model to both elevate humanity and simultaneously protect our planet. And, did you know that Capitalism With Care can also be quite a profitable proposition?
A few years ago, when I began to understand the impact that humans―especially greedy “crony” capitalists―are having on our planet, I turned to Conscious Capitalism, a movement devoted to elevating humanity though business.
Finding My Tribe in EO
Little did I realize that there was a growing number of entrepreneurs who were already on a journey to elevate humanity, to protect the planet. For years I had been leading companies as a caring capitalist, and I was seeking others who were leading small to mid-sized organizations and following similar tenets. I found my tribe in EO. And, I found additions to my tribe when I attended my first Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit.
Last year, I had the opportunity to work with 180 other EO members on the floor of the United Nations during EO’s International Entrepreneurial Summit to sign a formal Outcomes Declaration that detailed how we committed to “… make the world a better place, through delineating 12 special actions that business leaders can implement to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” In the summer of 2020, we will reconvene and continue that critical work.
Intersecting Crises: COVID-19 and Climate
A growing number of people worldwide understand that the biggest threat to humanity is climate change. As we witness what’s happening across the globe with the COVID-19 crisis, in just a matter of weeks after factories with smoke stacks were shut down and cities on mandatory lockdown grew quiet, we’ve seen the smog lift over China and the dolphins gleefully return to the canals of Venice.
Today, we are dealing with a global crisis that is genuinely frightening. It’s killing thousands of people at an alarming rate, and we’ve yet to establish an effective treatment protocol. We’re told it may be 12 to 18 months before an approved vaccine will be available. Even when it’s approved, will it be safe?
The scariest part to me is that if we don’t take drastic measures to protect our planet, the emergence of complex, never-before-seen viruses and bacteria will continue to plague us. COVID-19 is a warning we must take to heart and learn from. We must act now to take drastic measures to restore and protect our planet for those living now and those yet to come after us.
In an article in The Guardian, UN environment chief, Inger Andersen, said that humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences―and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.
The article continues: “Leading scientists also said the Covid-19 outbreak was a ‘clear warning shot’, given that far more deadly diseases existed in wildlife, and that today’s civilisation was ‘playing with fire’. They said it was almost always human behaviour that caused diseases to spill over into humans.”
The article goes on to illuminate how Coronavirus and other viruses jump from animals to humans—because humans are placing a burden on the planet, destructing natural habitats and driving wildlife into closer contact with people. The time to act isn’t tomorrow, it’s today.
So I ask you: What are you doing to take action to help restore planet Earth? If you’re an entrepreneur or a business leader, what is your company doing to elevate humanity through business?
Why I Practice Capitalism With Care
I believe that Capitalism With Care is the most effective way to elevate humanity. Everyone wins when we practice caring capitalism. Ironically, companies that practice the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism―Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture―financially outperform their peers, and not just by a few percentage points; often by significantly more.
The Conscious Capitalism website explains it best:
There is a better way to be a capitalist. A way that will create a better world for everyone. A way forward for humankind to liberate the heroic spirit of business and our collective entrepreneurial creativity so we can be free to solve the many challenges we face. Conscious Capitalism provides that path.
Conscious businesses will help evolve our world so that billions of people can flourish, leading lives infused with passion, purpose, love and creativity; a world of freedom, harmony, prosperity, and compassion.
I urge you to use this unexpected downtime in the business environment to explore, query and consider adopting the tenets of conscious capitalism in your business. I’m happy to share my personal experience around Capitalism With Care so we can learn together and support each other.
Won’t you join me? #ConsciousCapitalism #capitalismwithcare #EOimpact
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