People, Purpose, unconscious values and capitalism

It seems that SXX capitalism is still ringing around the world and is becoming a serious obstacle to people's revolution, purpose and values.

It hasn't been a week since in this very space set as an example of humanist leader Emmanuel Faber, with a gorgeous video in that it expressed its purpose. I liked Faber because he was able, as CEO of Danone, to convince his council to incorporate that purpose -- social justice and sustainability- with all its consequences on the organization.

But what was my surprise when my friend Carles Lombarte told me that Faber is already a former CEO of the company.

If you're short on time, I'll summarize it in two minutes:

Is the sustainability of the planet incompatible with capitalism?

Unconscious capitalism

As I read in The Country "The Artisan Partners and Bluebell Capital funds were the drivers of the impetion of the president and CEO". I'm wrong to deduce, but doesn't it come to mind that investment funds dominate the world?

It's a funny thing., the further emotional intelligence progresses, bioethics, personal development based on soft skills, the democratization of digital society... more I have the feeling that the rules of old capitalism of Friedman (You know, that trumpets that "the corporate's social responsibility is to increase profits") remains in force between us.

It seems that the ideas of Peter Drucker and Faber's own clash with a morale based on the enrichment of few at the expense of the impoverishment of many. And that makes me think that sustainability may not be compatible with the current prevailing economic model, that -- if I may call it that- "unconscious capitalism" or "predatory capitalism."

Short-termism is part of the origin of unconscious capitalism

Investment funds dominate the world, of that there's no doubt. Check out this graph of the 10 "traditional" higher-volume funds in the world.

positionTraditional investment fundsTurnover 2020
1BlackRock6,7 billions of euros
2Vanguard AM5,6 billions of euros
3Fidelity Investments2,8 billions of euros
4State Street Global Advisors2,7 billions of euros
5J.p. Morgan AM1,8 billions of euros
6Capital Group1,8 billions of euros
7PIMCO1,7 billions of euros
8BNY Mellon Investment Mangement1,7 billions of euros
9Amundi1,6 billions of euros
10Goldman Sachs AM1,5 billions of euros
Source: Rankia.com

The numbers are creepy. Let's think blackrock and Vanguard AM add up to a higher figure than the Euro Area GDP, and that 4 first outperser over US GDP. U.S..

Of course, there are ethical and supportive funds, but the largest independent fund in this field, Robeco SAM Water B, barely has a turnover of 8.000 millions of euros, insignificant market.

One of the particularities of "traditional" funds is that they seek short-term profit, must earn more money each year for their investors. You may be reading this and you may not be aware of an investment you have in the bank may be among the funds of "unconscious capitalism."

Corrupt freedom from the Guillem Recolons blog

The world needs more humanist leadership, it's not all worth it

Emmanuel Faber came from an investment bank when Danone hired him. And they hired him because he accumulated financial management and purpose, translated as sustainability and social justice.

Let's think that the food industry represents among the 19% and the 29% global greenhouse gas emissions. Its regeneration would have a major impact - as is the case with other sectors of activity such as transport, energy or fashion- to ensure a decent quality of life for everyone in the coming years.

According to Sandra Pina, of the The Economist, "that's where Faber was, a visionary who, No doubt, advocated an activism typical of people who leave a legacy, that's not the case with any CEO, just for having that title. Faber's leadership, we liked it or not, was indisputable, and as a true leader he was willing to play it for his convictions. The transformational leadership required in the times they run certainly has a lot to do with this."

What happened then? For the funds saw that some Danone's competing companies such as Unilever or Nestlé accumulated growths higher than Danone, and for the funds "that's not sustainable". Here you see that the word "sustainability" has a different meaning depending on which side you look at.

Let's understand each other, it's not like Danone lost money to Faber., but their growth figures were not similar or higher than those of their competition.

Each time we eat and drink we can vote for the world we want
Cin the same time we eat or drink we can vote what world we want. E. Faber

Undertaking a transformation like Faber's into a company with 100.000 employees and present in more than 120 countries is not something that is done overnight. Conscious leadership, humanist is not a two-year plan. It's something that involves a profound transformation of the business model, with a view to environmental sustainability, the person in the center and the values as pass-through points.

And when does Conscious Capitalism?

Unconscious capitalism exists, it's seen. Fortunately there are companies that are transforming organizations towards the conscious model. A few weeks ago I interviewed Alejandra Bara, Area Manager de Roots for Sustainability, a consultant who is trying to put some of our best companies in the S.XXI.

We don't lack literature, nor theory, nor specialists from the circular economy. Missing action, application, implementation. fearless, with more people like Faber and less like the predatory fund managers who ended his tenure.

As an antidote to unconscious capitalism, loved reading "Conscious Capitalism" by John Mackey and Raj Sisoda (Active Company, 2016). The table in which you compare csr (Corporate Social Responsibility) with Conscious Capitalism is like comparing SXX leadership (still prevailing in many of the big corporations) with SXXI leadership.

This table in the book sums up well the differences in concept: 

Conscious Capitalism / John Mackey & Raj Sisoda (Active Company, 2016)
board 2-1 How Conscious Capitalism differs from CSR
Corporate Social ResponsibilityConscious Capitalism
Those involved in the company must sacrifice themselves for societyIt integrates the interests of all involved
It is independent of the culture or purpose of the corporationIncorporates a superior purpose and a culture of solidarity
Adds an ethical burden to business objectivesIt combines solidarity and benefit thanks to deep convergences
Reflects a mechanistic view of the companyConsiders the company to be a complex adaptive system
She is often grafted into the business model, as a separate department, or that it's part of public relationsSocial responsibility is at the base of the company thanks to the superior purpose and because it considers the community and the environment to be key agents
It considers that there is a limited overlap between companies and society, and between companies and the planetIt considers that the company is a subset of society and that society is a subset of the planet
Easily assimilated to a charitable work; often regarded as misleading green marketingIt requires a real transformation from a commitment to 4 Principles: Purpose, integration of all the agents involved, conscious leadership and conscious cultures
It is assumed that all good deeds are desirableIt requires good deeds to contribute to the purpose of the company and to the creation of value for the system as a whole
The implications for business performance are unclearSignificantly improves performance, both economically and in other aspects of traditional companies
Supports traditional leadershipRequires conscious leadership
Source: Conscious Capitalism / John Mackey & Raj Sisoda (Active Company, 2016)
book capitalism conscious john mackey raj sisodia active company

I would say that if conscious leadership is integrated with Peter Drucker's humanist leadership, we would have the ideal of a company of the future.

I want to make it known that I'm not at all anti-capitalist, I just think the capitalism we met SXX has a few days left. And, as I've tried long and this blog, managers without vision or mission, purposeless and an action plan to comply with it, would do well to retire and make way for those who truly want to make this world a better place to live. With that, unconscious capitalism will be history.


I thank three people who introduced me to the idea of conscious capitalism and business ethics, Pablo Engelmann, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism in Spain, Laura Gutierrez and the aforementioned Alejandra Bara, of the R4S.

Stock Photos from nuvolanevicata / Shutterstock

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