Why "Conscious Capitalism" Makes Business Sense

In the video below we hear from Fedele Bauccio, founder and CEO of Bon Appetit Management. His company has built its reputation on locally sourced, seasonal, healthy foods, and is actively involved in sustainability issues affecting every aspect of the food industry.

We look at Conscious Capitalism and Bauccio's belief in the need to create an emotional attachment by pursuing goals that are important to both consumers and employees. If people share in your values, he explains, profit will follow.

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Isaac Pino: I believe in a few weeks from now you'll be speaking at a Conscious Capitalism summit. This is a concept that has inspired quite a few companies, including our founders here at The Motley Fool. The CEO -- you mentioned John Mackey at Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM  ) , The Container Store -- how did you get acquainted with Conscious Capitalism, and do you believe more companies should embrace this idea?

Fedele Bauccio: I don't know. They found me somehow.

I think this is a great idea, but you know this is not a new idea, Conscious Capitalism. I've been doing this for 25 years. I think that you've got to make money if you're going to do good. There's no question about it.

But any product or service today that's going to start a company -- and some of you might be entrepreneurs in the future -- you've got to be able to create this emotional attachment I'm talking about; a brand that's going to do some good, where the consumers are going to recognize and say, "You know, this is great stuff. This is what I want to do."

There's lots of examples of that. The Honest Teas of the world, Chipotles (NYSE: CMG  ) of the world; all of these companies have tried to say, "How do we do something really terrific that's uniquely different, that we know is good for people, and still make money?"

I think that's where we were 25 years ago. I wanted to change the industry. I didn't really care about profits at that time. In fact, we didn't make any money for five years. I almost went bankrupt twice. But what was important to me was that we stayed focused on the values and the dream that I had in my head, and we have done that.

We've done that to the detriment of even not taking business that we felt was not a good fit for us, and that's OK, because what we're doing is more important than the bottom line.

But I will tell you, the more you do and stick with your values and create this emotional attachment to whatever service or product you have, the more money you're going to make. We make a lot of good money, but it's not about that.

It's about how, I think our people, all 12,000 of them, really feel that we're doing something for communities. We're doing something for the environment. We're doing the right thing for animal welfare in this country, and we're doing the right thing in terms of what we put into people's bodies, for their health and for future generations.


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