Reading about “Conscious Capitalism” is rather common. Experiencing it firsthand is something totally different. I was invited to a front-row seat to experience one organization’s commitment to creating sustainable value for all stakeholders, especially the planet.
LBL Strategies’ client Clarke (clarke.com) is committed to “making communities around the world more livable, safe, and comfortable” by providing environmentally responsible mosquito control products & services worldwide. LBL had the privilege of working closely with Clarke leadership on recasting their strategic direction, articulating their strategic plan, and prioritizing enterprise-wide initiatives for execution.
Clarke leadership is dedicated to creating sustainable value for all stakeholders, including customers, employees, strategic partners, suppliers, communities, and the environment. This contrasts with many companies focusing primarily on maximizing profits for shareholders.
The tenets of “conscious capitalism” include the belief that capitalism can be a force for good, and that businesses can serve a higher purpose beyond just making money. Some of the major proponents and thinkers of conscious capitalism include John Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Raj Sisodia, the co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism movement (whom I was able to meet at a Clarke company-wide 3-day event).
Mackey and Sisodia wrote the book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, which has become a seminal work on the topic. Michael Porter has also written extensively on the importance of creating shared value in business. Conscious capitalism has gained traction in recent years as more businesses seek to balance purpose and profit, and it is seen by many as a potential solution for the social, economic, and environmental challenges that we face today.
At the Clarke event, Raj Sisodia quoted the famed philosopher Homer Simpson: "To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems!” However, Raj substituted the word “alcohol” with the word “capitalism” as such: “To capitalism! The cause of, and the solution to, all of life’s problems!” He underscored how indeed capitalism has “gone bad” by and large. But the solution is NOT anti-capitalism, but rather the solution is a better capitalism, a “conscious capitalism”.
Through LBL’s 6-month strategic planning and management engagement with Clarke, I observed:
- An unswerving commitment to protect the environment (radical in the pest-control industry).
- A focus on everyone as a member of the Clarke Team. There are no “employees” at Clarke, everyone at all levels including ownership are “co-workers.”
- A passion for creating a positive and safe workplace culture.
- The Clarke Cares Foundation, a separate 501c3 organization, that saves lives and reduces suffering from mosquito and water-borne illnesses for those with critical needs around the world from struggling communities to disaster zones
- A desire to “listen and learn” as evidenced by a robust environmental assessment, including:
- CUSTOMER-INSIGHTS SURVEY included 69 responses from Clarke customers.
- FORESIGHT: SCENARIO-BASED PLANNING WORKSHOPS with 36 total participants.
- OPEN-FORUM DISCUSSIONS with 10 industry and customer participants in three groups.
- EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN OF INDUSTRY EXPERTS with 34 respondents to provide thoughtful, qualitative, responses to questions related to the external factors influencing the future success of Clarke.
- INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS with 12 Clarke coworkers.
- INTERNAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN OF CO-WORKERS with 129 participants providing insight into internal issues, identifying organization strengths (to leverage) and weaknesses (to improve) in formulating and executing the organization’s strategic plan
Clarke is on a path to transform and elevate vector management, by developing and delivering the most environmentally responsible solutions for managing the public health impacts of disease carrying and nuisance insects. By extending Clarke’s innovations and technical expertise in public health mosquito control to all our customers, they are helping make communities around the world more livable, safe, and comfortable.