In 2005 John Mackey, the founder of US food retailer Whole Foods, started the Conscious Capitalism movement as the manifestation of the values-driven business ethos for which he stands. And in their book Conscious Capitalism, [1] John Mackey and Raj Sisodia confirm “that the vision and values of Conscious Capitalism … are consistent with their articulation of second-tier memes in Spiral Dynamics, as well as Ken Wilber’s work on integral consciousness,” which are at the foundation of AQAL’s Integral Investing model. Such a value-driven business philosophy pays off also financially not just socially and environmentally.

This has been shown through research described in Firms of Endearment.[2] For example, under the leadership of John Mackey, Whole Foods had a 40 percent higher ROI than organizations that are not classed as Firms of Endearment over a period of ten years. The shareholder value for investors in Whole Foods, which was sold to Amazon in 2017 for USD13.7 billion, grew between 1995 and 2006 to more than 1800 percent. So, this could be viewed as further confirmation that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” a quote attributed in 2006 to celebrated management consultant Peter Drucker by Ford CEO Mark Fields.

Like Mackey, Tom Schulz and I are part of the Cultural Creatives generation and I had the chance to share our Transformation is Feasible Strategy during the European Conscious Capital conference.


[1] Mackey J & Sisodia R (2013, p.204). Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the heroic spirit of business. Harvard Business Review Press, Boston

[2] Sisodia, R., Sheth, J., & Wolfe, D. B., (2007). Firms of Endearment: How world-class companies profit from passion and purpose. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School.