Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whole Foods & Wholly Conscious Capitalism

by Francesca Rheannon
[This originally posted at CSRwire]
What does it take for a company to follow Conscious Capitalism?

As I discussed in my previous post "Does Conscious Capitalism Leave Retail Workers Behind?" the National Retail Association's Big Show held in New York City last week was thought provoking in more ways than one.

With Alan's comments fresh in my mind, I headed to Whole Foods' Co-CEO's panel on conscious capitalism: Where does consciousness fit in the cutthroat retail industry?

Now, Whole Foods presents an interesting case of the promise and pitfalls of the “conscious capitalism” Robb asserted is at the heart of the company’s mission and practices. While he was joined by The Container Store's CEO Kip Tindall and private equity firm Leonard Green and Partners' Managing Partner Jonathan Sokoloff, Robb's comments intrigued me in the background of the company's rollercoaster existence.

Does Conscious Capitalism Leave Retail Workers Behind?

[This post originally published on CSRwire]
By Francesca Rheannon
The National Retail Association had its annual Big Show in mid-January in New York. Last year’s event saw 22,000 attendees, and from the crowds streaming around me through the giant halls and corridors this year, 2012’s attendance wasn’t any smaller.

A panel on “Conscious Capitalism,” featuring, among others, the co-CEO of Whole Foods, Walter Robb had been my original motivation to attend the event [More on that in Part 2]. However, before I could make much headway into the crowds, two individuals standing outside the convention's entrance caught my eye.

Standing on the sidewalk with several dozen retail workers and supporters in tow holding signs, this small crowd was giving testimony about the conditions retail workers face in one of the hottest shopping towns in the country – New York City.

I invited the two inside the lobby – and out of the pouring rain – to chat.

The Benefit Corporation: Transforming Corporations from Psychopaths to Good Citizens

A new corporate form could revolutionize the fundamental rules of business and foster the mainstreaming of the Triple Bottom Line.
By Francesca Rheannon

[Part One of a Two Part Series. Posted originally on CSRwire.]

The 2003 documentary, The Corporation, characterizes the modern corporation as suffering from psychopathic personality disorder. From “callous unconcern for the feelings of others” to “failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors,” the film lists the features of the disorder and applies them to the typical behavior of large corporations.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cooperative Capitalism: Can Coops Rejuvenate the American Economy?

German newspaper cooperative

By Francesca Rheannon
(Part One of a 2012 Monthly Series For the International Year of Cooperatives)

Whether producer or consumer owned, coops are not only here to stay, they might just be the next big thing.

Capitalism needs an extreme makeover. An economic system that is blithely destroying the habitat for humans and other living things is clearly crazy.