Wednesday Wealth Recap
- The trend is your friend. But which trends can you trust? Alexander Green has the answer.
- The British stock market has had a rough couple of decades. But now that American tech stocks are slipping, it’s setting up to be a smart value play. And Nicholas Vardy has an easy way for American investors to play it.
- It wasn’t that long ago that Big Pharma and biotech were universally hated. But now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, Chief Income Strategist Marc Lichtenfeld wonders whether people have had a change of heart over the villainized sector.
Last week, The Oxford Club hosted its 23rd Annual Investment U Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Though things looked a little different this year, the conference was a success nonetheless.
Along with thousands of other virtual attendees, I experienced the conference via LIVEstream. And Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s presentation on conscious capitalism caught my attention and wouldn’t let go.
See, I’ve considered starting my own business.
Outside of my day job, I’ve had some experience working as an independent contractor over the years. I taught small dance classes at a couple of local gyms. And eventually I started to get paid performance gigs.
When I first started to teach and perform professionally, I wanted to turn dance into a career. I considered opening my own studio and building a business.
I thought about the numbers and the logistics – paying rent for a studio space, printing class flyers, promoting my shows on social media pages.
I asked myself: How can I make money from this?
And while that’s an important question… I’ve since come to realize that I have a bigger and much more important question to answer: How can I create value for others?
Because that’s what business is all about.
From Profits to Purpose
As John explained in his presentation, profit is a necessary part of business. But that doesn’t mean profit is its reason for existing.
“The whole idea – I call it a myth – that the purpose of business is to maximize profits has done tremendous damage in a lot of ways,” John said. “We need to shift out of that.”
And the way to shift out of that is to put purpose first.
John explained that having a higher purpose is perhaps the most important aspect of conscious capitalism – the other three being stakeholder interdependence, conscious leadership and conscious culture.
In a conscious business, leaders unite their stakeholders around a single purpose. And all stakeholders matter in this pursuit – customers, employees, suppliers, investors and communities.
Happier employees make for happier customers. They all depend on one another.
As Alexander Green wrote, John’s approach reveals the “heroic” nature of capitalism:
John points out that business is good because it creates value. It is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange. It is noble because it elevates our existence. And it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.
In the midst of the pandemic, this conscious approach is resonating with a growing number of consumers.
A Changing Consumer
In June 2020, management consultancy firm Accenture surveyed more than 8,000 consumers in 20 markets around the world. And it discovered that customer behavior is drastically changing.
Some 82% of those surveyed reported making more sustainable purchases, and 83% are more health-conscious.
Overall, 60% reported making more environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases since the pandemic started. And 9 out of 10 said they’d likely continue doing so.
A study by research group Kantar also found that, since the coronavirus outbreak, sustainability has become a larger concern for consumers.
So running an ethical business is not only the right thing to do but also the profitable thing to do.
Conscious leadership is an essential part of this shift. Conscious leaders don’t maintain the status quo. They work to make the world better. They help people grow and evolve.
And they recognize that the company’s success does not come from any one person.
“You’re only as good as your team,” John said.
I kept all of this in mind when envisioning my own business. And then I heard one of the most impactful comments of John’s presentation.
We’re conditioned to frame problems and solutions as win-lose scenarios, John said. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
“If you can learn to think win-win-win, you will transform your life, you will transform your relationships with everybody that you have, and you will transform the businesses and organizations that you’re part of,” he said.
It only reinforced what Alex has been saying for months, especially since the start of the pandemic: We could all use a dose of rational optimism.
John acknowledged that there are bad actors in business, just as there are in politics and other parts of our culture. But ultimately, conscious capitalism is a force for good.
“Business is about the real lives of real people,” he said. “It is one of the most human things that we can do. And we just need to do it a lot more consciously than we’ve been doing it.”
P.S. What do you think about conscious capitalism? Do you keep sustainability, environmental impact or ethical standards in mind when spending money? Let us know in the comments section below.