What is Conscious Business anyway?
Conscious business is part of a larger movement within society, a general pulse to become more conscious in the things we do, and particularly of how our activities affect a wider and wider circle of people and things. Any movement towards a higher level of consciousness will have certain things in common, so the drive towards a more conscious form of doing business will have commonalities with for example conscious health, conscious parenting, conscious relationships and so on.
‘Conscious’ is defined as being aware of, and responding to your surroundings. So many movements that seek increasing ‘consciousness’ are based in values of the interconnectedness of the whole human species. It is an expansion of our ‘I’ to include more and more. This interconnectedness is one of the core values that makes a business conscious.
Businesses still currently operate under the shareholders first maxim. In fact directors of a company are legally required to put profits first, even if that sacrifices long term profits or other things such as the environment, local community and more.
Conscious businesses see value over the longer term, including the shareholders. They recognize that they operate in a world that is bigger than just them. So if they use up resources unsustainably, or harm their local communities, that is taken into account. And in fact it is perfectly logical as these actions also harm the future of these businesses themselves.
Conscious businesses often reflect certain humanistic perspectives such as the value of human freedom and progress. They create environments where people can flourish and feel like they are contributing something meaningful.
In the race for ever increasing profitability, it is often the human that gets exploited. Profits are put before intrinsic human values such as family, leisure time, work/life balance and others. Instead of a business being there to serve people, people are there to serve a business. The business and profit always comes first.
More and more, businesses are realising that Happiness is the New Productivity, and that not only is it never worth sacrificing our humanity for profit, but that putting the human first, often leads to better profitability in the long run anyway.
Traditionally business has been solely about profit. And it was only ever the material and tangible that could be allocated value. Now however, there is a movement towards businesses which also place value beyond the material and tangible. Like already mentioned, companies are placing value on the happiness and fulfilment of their employees, on the impact of the well-being of their community and on environmental resources such as clean air, clean water, plastic-free oceans and more.
Lastly conscious businesses often set out to serve others. Whether that ‘others’ is local, international or global, they set out to do so without harming anyone or anything else in the process.
The most beautiful innovation, and the one the survival of our species depends on, is the one that “provides creative solutions and services that meet human or planetary needs in an ethical, non-exploitative, non-toxic manner; and by doing so, creates a sustainable, or enduring and profitable business.”
This is the conscious business revolution.