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Natural products industry should review conscious capitalism

Natural products industry should review conscious capitalism

John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-CEO, writes on “conscious capitalism” in his newly co-authored book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.Conscious capitalism is good. Health care reform is fascist.

The wisdom of John Mackey.

I’m listening.

Mackey didn’t invent “conscious capitalism.” But the Whole Foods Market co-CEO is owning it with his newly co-authored book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

Hi co-author, Raj Sisodia, is a business professor and the co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism Institute.

Mackey imparts the above bits of wisdom in a two-part interview on National Public Radio. Listen to Mackey’s interview with NPR and read the radio station’s summary.The station will air the rest of the interview, including Mackey calling President Obama’s health reform fascist, on Thursday (I will add the link here when it becomes available). (Mackey told some media on Thursday he regrets using the term fascism.)

Conscious capitalism espouses the belief in more than the bottom line, the thinking that business can do well by doing good—for people and planet. The timing for a book that explores these concepts and one by a high-profile businessman couldn’t be better. Backlash against the corporation continues as we as a nation dig out of an economic collapse that started on high and toppled downward.

The angst plays out in our own natural products industry as:

  • More and more, local beats out organic as consumers lose trust in an industry that’s grown too big, as one distributor told me the other evening.
  • The fight to label genetically modified foods has one face—Monsanto.
  • And even the big dog—Whole Foods Market—moves in on territories traditionally left for the independent local retailer.

These are challenges we must come to grips with as the nation’s appetite for improved health grows. Business builds the nation’s foundation. There are those that help it—and its citizens and environment—to flourish. And there are those who rightfully earn disdain.

I look forward to reading the book (I just downloaded it to my Kindle app and feel terribly guilty that I didn’t hit the independent bookseller that I regularly walk down the street to visit. Chances are I will still get the print version there, or make up for it with a stack of cookbooks and business manuals.)

And I look forward to productive conversations that will advance the natural products industry. One starting point will actually take place Sunday morning during Natural Products Expo West when a town hall meeting gathers to talk about a vision for the word “natural.” 

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