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Conscious Capitalism, a movement that Wharton Business School Publishing calls, “the most fundamental transformation in capitalism since Adam Smith."

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Conscious Capitalism
We stand at a tipping point in the history of business and the evolution of free markets. The 20th century witnessed a lengthy battle between two polar opposite views of how to organize and regulate economic activity. Capitalism won that epic struggle decisively and is now widely accepted as the most efficient means to achieve economic progress. However, a spate of recent corporate scandals has under-cut the public’s already shaky confidence in capitalism’s capacity to serve the broader good.

Given dramatic technological and demographic developments in society, there is fast growing awareness that industrial era notions of how to maximize value creation in a free market economy need updating. Forward-thinking business leaders have demonstrated that long-term value is best generated with a different mindset and a different business model.

Through this document, we are issuing a call to action to senior executives, major investors, policy makers, and thought leaders around the globe. We challenge you to apply your leadership skills to support and strengthen a world-changing force that is altering the rules of business engagement: the conscious capitalism movement.
A growing number of companies are showing that business can be a powerful force for good. Their leaders consciously shape the companies’ vision, policies and operations to address broader societal needs while building shareholder value. We refer to them as conscious capitalists.

Two core principles underlie the concept of conscious capitalism:
  • Companies should operate with a clear purpose that transcends profit
  • A company can best serve stockholders by addressing the needs of all stakeholders
Business has a far greater potential for fulfilling deeper societal purposes without compromise of productivity, profitability and growth than traditionally acknowledged. The growing roster of companies taking a path toward deeper purposes than defined by profit reflects a pragmatic adaptation to rising public expectations for standards of corporate conduct.

It is important to point out that the conscious capitalism movement is not synonymous with corporate social responsibility (CSR), which in most cases involves grafting a social agenda onto a traditional business model. Since “society” is explicitly recognized as a major stakeholder, the issue of CSR becomes moot for a company practicing conscious capitalism.
We envision a network of organizations that will collectively drive a comprehensive, well-coordinated effort to advance the CC movement. There are three main components of this effort.
  • The Club
  • The Institute
  • The Society
The C3 will consist primarily of CEOs, major investors and prominent thought leaders with a demonstrated commitment to and understanding of the key principles of Conscious Capitalism. The driving purpose of the C3 is to accelerate public awareness of conscious capitalism and spur its growth throughout the worldwide business community and beyond. Membership is by invitation only and will be limited to 100 members. The C3 will serve as the intellectual prism through which ideas rooted in conscious capitalism thought are explored. It will also provide a forum for members to share ideas, issues and solutions.

The CCI will be housed at a major U.S. business school, and will have affiliations with leading business schools in all the major markets of the world. The CCI will serve as the knowledge capture, creation and dissemination hub of the conscious capitalism movement. Its resources and energies will be devoted to four “pillars of endeavor”:
  1. The promotion of rigorous original research on topics prioritized by member companies;
  2. The development of curricular materials for graduate and undergraduate business students;
  3. Executive education offerings for managers and executives at all levels; and
  4. The creation of advanced diagnostic and advisory tools that firms can use to assess and improve their performance as conscious capitalists.
The CCS is a broad membership organization that represents the grass roots sector of the conscious capitalism movement. Its members will include business professionals, academics, consultants, students and others. CCS plans to organize an annual international summit (modeled some- what on the World Economic Forum in Davos). This global event will bring together the world’s leading thought lead- ers in business, economics, public administration, various sciences and the arts. The goal is to create a “big tent” for all those who have an interest and stake in the advancement of the various aspects of Conscious Capitalism. The mission will be to help chart new directions in business on behalf of a better world for all.