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Experts Debate The Scope Of Conscious Capitalism At Social Enterprise Summit 2016

A panel discussion on the topic 'Expanding the idea of Conscious Capitalism' was held during the recently held Social Enterprise Summit 2016, in Mumbai

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The Social Enterprise Summit 2016 on the topic 'Doing Business with a Conscience' was held in Mumbai on July 1. The summit brought together civil society leaders, social enterprises, and corporates on a common platform which included names like Raj Sisodia, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Conscious Capitalism Inc., Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Businessworld, Dr. Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Partner, Roland Berger, Strategy Consultants, Jordan Kassalow, Founder, VisionSpring, Chinmay Sengupta, Chief Operating Officer, ICICI, Foundation, Jasmine Gogia, Head, CSR, Sustainability & Occupational Health, Suzlon Group, Aarti Wig, Country Director, Yunus Social Business, Rajeev Dubey, Group President, HR & Corporate Services, CEO-Aftermarket Sector, Member Group Executive Board, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Deepak Arora, CEO, Essar Foundation, Adarsh Kataruka, Managing Director, Soul Ace and Dr. Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chairman, Institute for Competitiveness.

A panel discussion on the topic 'Expanding the idea of Conscious Capitalism' was held during the event and attended by experts like: Dr. Wilfried Aulbur, Managing Partner, Roland Berger, Strategy Consultants, Raj Sisodia, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Conscious Capitalism Inc., Deepak Arora, CEO, Essar Foundation and Chinmay Sengupta, Chief Operating Officer, ICICI, Foundation, the session was moderated by Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Businessworld.

Speaking about the way companies across the world are redefining capitalism and the shift in the concept of capitalism, Sisodia said, "The shift in capitalism has already taken place. It is actually the unconscious capitalism that has given rise to the radical forces that mostly follow the profit only mindset. I believe that the idea of capitalism has to be practised right because it is the best system to create prosperity around the globe."

Elaborating on the co-relation between mindfulness and the practice of conscious capitalism, Aulbur added, "When we talk about polarization, it has significantly come down with the practice of capitalism in many emerging markets. However, the fact that only 80 billionaires hold more than 50 per cent of the global wealth also raises some critical questions about how capitalism is being practised. This also indicates that we have allowed the system to get skewed towards few individuals and I think we need to create a strong narrative, which is different, and the philosophy of conscious capitalism can set things right."

When asked about the shift that conscious capitalism has brought in the last five years, Chinmay Segupta, said, "I have seen the shift in the system from an outsider's perspective. There is a very gradual shift from maximum profit making to inclusive business practices. I think conscious capitalism is closely linked to the power dynamics and it is empowering people and helping to strengthen the system to become powerful enough to deliver what it is supposed to deliver."
So, do businesses that are not doing well find it easy to adopt conscious capitalism? Elaborating on it, Deepak Arora, CEO, Essar Foundation, said, "There is a definite correlation between capitalism and welfare to the society. Capitalism is more about wealth creation which also goes into value addition at the social level. When you create enterprises, and most enterprises are in the rural areas, and the moment you set up the enterprise there is pressure from the social communities to create a shared value, and it is not a matter of choice but they have to engage otherwise there would be grave consequences."

Speaking about the reforms needed in the financial sector, Sisodia said, "The fact is that the financial sector has got disconnected from the real economy. The real purpose of the financial sector is to serve and help businesses grow, and if you do that well you will flourish. Unfortunately, it has now come to a point where it is all about creating money without adding any significant value to the society. I think every sector, every industry exists for a purpose and when it loses that purpose it just becomes about profit making. The other sectors that I think need reform are the Pharma and the Food sectors, which have been increasingly focusing on the profit making bit and thus moving away from their main objectives."

Highlighting what today's CEO needs to do to deliver, Sisodia added, "It gets down to having right leaders in politics and business and unfortunately there is a system in place in which power and virtue do not go together, and they need to. The more power leaders have the more they need to show they are virtuous and conscious. Moreover, the level of consciousness of the leader has to align with the trajectory of progress."

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Ruhail Amin

As a media practitioner based in Mumbai, Ruhail Amin writes on start-ups, contemporary business challenges with special focus on advertising and digital marketing

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