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22 Conscious Business Leaders Share Their Reasons for Hope

Rachel Zurer March 1, 2017


“The notion that our culture is moving more towards a mindset where shared transportation resources — and resources in general — are widely encouraged and adopted. The more people integrate sharing behavior into their daily lives, the more resources we collectively conserve and the better our society’s quality of life becomes.” 

– Paul DeLong, CEO, car2go North America

“Young people today are prioritizing the mission of the company they work for just as much as the size of their paycheck.” 

– Evan Walden, CEO, Monday

“Not only seeing other companies focusing on a more conscious purpose in their business practices, but also seeing companies work  together to achieve this purpose.” 

– Candyce Hedlund, Marketing Manager, Sierra Designs

Companies are becoming more vocal about their values and politics instead of shying away for fear of losing customers.” – Annie Nyborg, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Community, Peak Design

“We are seeing more and more companies providing an increasing range of ‘better for you’ products to a much larger demographic of consumers than ever before.” 

– Bret A. Furio, CEO, Zarbee’s Naturals

“The discussion within the movement. I used to think it was just me who thought the world was a little off, our priorities were wrong. Through social media, I’ve found out we’re not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of us out there. The discussion continues, and our numbers grow.”

 – Matthew Griffin, CEO, Combat Flip Flops

“Entrepreneurs are moving beyond Silicon Valley’s funding model of hyper-capitalized companies fueled ‘to achieve billion-dollar status or die trying.’ We are seeing the opposite — new entrepreneurs focusing on building something real, long-lasting, and good for the world.” 

– Peter Henig, Founder and Managing Partner, Greenhouse Capital Partners

“More consumers than ever before are looking for companies that are making positive change.” – Kevin Rutherford, Chief Eternal Optimist (CEO), nuun hydration

“It inspires me to hear business executives speaking out against injustice, bigotry, and environmental negligence. It’s not the idealism of the statements that makes me most hopeful, but rather the unmistakable fact that these statements are thought of as ‘good for business.’”

– Julia Drachman, Intern Architect, McLennan Design

“Those with capital (businesses, celebrities, institutions, etc.) have realized they have a vital responsibility — to amplify the voice of those who are overlooked and be a catalyst for change.”

– Lani Dolifka, Co-founder and CEO, Watermill Express

“Both the quantity (sheer number) and quality (depth of conviction) of impact investors and social entrepreneurs seem to be growing in lockstep at an almost exponential rate right now.”

– Don Shaffer, President and CEO, RSF Social Finance

“In our financial calculations, mundane as they seem, we can and do build models that assign value as if all life matters. Every day, across the globe, I see folks bringing a logic of fairness and justice to their investing practices. We will simply continue to exercise our power.” – Joy Anderson, President and Founder, Criterion Institute

“The increasing awareness among business leaders that doing good and making money are not mutually exclusive — in fact, they are becoming a necessary partnership.”

– Adam Hudson, Founder, Reliable Education

“It feels good to know that if faced with a choice, the consumer will most likely make the better decision for all of us, the animals, and the planet — even if it does cost a little bit more. Without them caring, any conscious business movement would be nearly impossible.”

– Daniel Uretsky, President, ALLIED Feather & Down

“The increasing awareness that all things on our planet are connected, and that therefore all businesses and their actions have global effects, no matter how seemingly small or locally focused they may be.”

– Mark Overbay, Founder and President, Big Spoon Roasters

“The tenacity of the entrepreneurial underdog spirit remains relentless in the face of fear and determined that fairness, equity, and love will win the day.”– Mike Rowlands, President and CEO, Junxion Strategy

“I point to the recent example of Lyft donating $1 million to the ACLU in response to political decisions that are not in line with the needs of the people. This is a powerful demonstration of how businesses can not only provide customers with a product or service but can also influence the protection of civil rights.”

– Rahama Wright, Founder and CEO, Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty LLC

“In the face of government inaction or antipathy, businesses are increasingly willing to stick their necks out for those who are disadvantaged or persecuted. This includes firms like Salesforce and Google that pushed back against ‘bathroom bills’ in Indiana and North Carolina, and Starbucks, which is promising to hire refugees all around the world. The good news is that even ‘traditional’ companies are recognizing that taking a stand is important — firms like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and even NASCAR have spoken out against intolerance.”

– Randall Kempner, Executive Director, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs

“More than ever, our ideas are catching fire. As the conscious business community grows, consumers can integrate their values into their lives, vote with their wallets, and begin inspiring others with these same ideals.” – Rachel Connors, Co-founder, Yellow Leaf Hammocks“Fellow B Corp leaders, now over 2,000 strong, who are uniting around specific goals to advance an inclusivity economy. Unleashing the unlimited potential of all people will fuel our businesses, enrich our communities, and advance our nation.”

– John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation

“Each year I’m seeing more and more businesses choose to give back in powerful ways, from transparency in sourcing to empowering lives in developing countries. I’m hopeful the movement is increasing as I see more B Corps popping up monthly.”

– Bryan Papé, Founder and CEO, MiiR Inc.

“Protests. Activism. Women. The sudden appropriateness of asking the question, ‘Would you consider running for office?’ and following it up immediately with, ‘I hope you do.’ Gen Z. Our customers. And the long list of heroines and heroes who are blazing ahead hyper-focused on leveraging the power of business to attack some of our world’s most difficult and complex problems.”

– Tom McDougall, Founder, 4P Foods

Stakeholder Capitalism
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