ONE’S shared environment is a major force in shaping a person’s value system. Psychologists have studied how both biology or genetic makeup, and the particular kind of upbringing an individual experiences, have great influence on the development of an individual’s personality. Therefore, if we are to ensure that our children will become responsible global citizens who will inherit a healthy and happy planet, then we must start by educating them about “conscious capitalism” at home.
In their article, “Two and a Half Cheers for Conscious Capitalism,” O’Toole and Vogel (2011) discuss the ideology in light of the decision of some firms to incorporate “social responsibility into mainstream business practices” (p.61). This was a response to the rampant corporate commercialism practiced by most, which unfortunately caused the dismal environmental degradation and deterioration of positive human values we witness today.
Characteristics of conscious capitalism
What then are the common practices of conscious firms? O’Toole and Vogel cite five, namely: Conscious firms use profits to achieve a higher purpose; they have a strong stakeholder orientation; they implement integrated strategies which include “their ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability practices into their core business strategies” (p.61) ; their organizations have healthy cultures evident in the active participation of their employees in decision making; and the entrepreneurs or owners are typically values-based or servant leaders.
Parents as transformational or transactional leaders
In the field of organizational development, scholars such as Moldovan and Macarie (2014), differentiate between transformational and transactional leaders. Transformational leaders “integrate creative insight, persistence and energy, intuition and sensitivity to the needs of others,” while transactional leaders “develop exchanges or agreements with their followers, pointing out what the followers will receive if they do something right as well as wrong” (p.40).
As the basic unit of Filipino society, families are the most powerful influencers of young minds. It is therefore necessary for us to reflect on how we manage our loved ones at home. Are we the kind of parents or elders who instill the importance of human dignity and respect for the natural environment in our value system, or do we exercise a stringent check-and-balance relationship wherein we merely reward good behavior and reprimand bad?
One can also argue that the formation of a child does not end at home. As an educator, I am very aware of my responsibility in nation-building through the shaping of young minds toward creating business models that do well while doing good.
Conscious capitalism in the Philippines
As a response to the Earth Summit of 1992, the government quickly formed the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development, which cites the role of the academe in responsible education:
“Education for sustainable development is geared towards the realization of the full potential of the human being as an individual and as an integral member of a family, community, and society as a whole. Besides developing economic, ecological, political, and cultural literacy and competence, education also promotes human well-being, develops emotional and mental intelligence as well as moral and spiritual potentials of the human being. Moreover, education motivates the human being to place one’s developed capacities in the service of the Supreme Being, nature, society, and sustainable development.” (Source: pcsd.neda.gov.ph)
Hence, as parents and educators, we must collaborate in ensuring that our children will indeed inherit a happy and healthy planet by teaching them how to be mindful consumers and future conscious capitalists. I end with a quote from our national hero, for he defined the essence of sustainable development and conscious capitalism when he wrote: “I have observed that the prosperity or misery of each people is in direct proportion to its liberties or its prejudices and, accordingly, to the sacrifices or the selfishness of its forefathers. Juan Crisostomo Ibarra” ― José Rizal, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)
Paz Esperanza Tesoro-Poblador is the Vice-Chair of the Marketing Management Department of De La Salle University’s Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business. She is currently taking her Doctorate in Business Administration. Her fields of interest are sustainable development, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing.