What is the role of a company? Two schools of thought, two rival philosophies, have vied for supremacy for over twenty years now. Is it to put the interests of shareholders above all else, as Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Freedman declared? Or is it, in addition to the shareholders, to serve other stakeholders such as staff, clients, suppliers and beyond?

Conscious Capitalism

What is the role of a company? Two schools of thought, two rival philosophies, have vied for supremacy for over twenty years now. Is it to put the interests of shareholders above all else, as Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Freedman declared? Or is it, in addition to the shareholders, to serve other stakeholders such as staff, clients, suppliers and beyond?

Hedge funds are often seen as predators, short-term investors only interested in making a profit, whatever the cost. Alex Denner, president and founder of Sarissa Capital, provides a more nuanced view, in which the creation of value rhymes with the general interest.

“A reasonable level of profit is important to guarantee the continuous distribution of capital”

Hedge funds are often seen as predators, short-term investors only interested in making a profit, whatever the cost. Alex Denner, president and founder of Sarissa Capital, provides a more nuanced view, in which the creation of value rhymes with the g...

Founder of French Consultancy 5fois5, specialists in providing training and advice to company directors on conscious leadership, Philippe Joannis decodes the levers of conscious capitalism: the main one being the need for a business to reposition its quest for profit as a means to an end, not an end in itself, in order to achieve a larger, more collective goal.

Philippe Joannis (Founder, 5fois5): “Purpose before profit: this inversion of priorities is the key to conscious capitalism”

Founder of French Consultancy 5fois5, specialists in providing training and advice to company directors on conscious leadership, Philippe Joannis decodes the levers of conscious capitalism: the main one being the need for a business to reposition its...

As president of the board of management of BPI Group, Sabine Lochmann assists and advises businesses in their transformations, all while being deeply involved herself in the transformations of the group she heads up.

“Nurturing well-being in the workplace and provoking the curiosity of the individual is vital to economic performance”

As president of the board of management of BPI Group, Sabine Lochmann assists and advises businesses in their transformations, all while being deeply involved herself in the transformations of the group she heads up.

For Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, at the head of Paprec for 25 years, reconciling a quest for profit and an awareness for public interest is in no way utopian. The proof: a business which advocates ‘a greener planet and a more fraternal society,’ recycles 11 million tons of waste per year and generates a turnover of close to two billion euros.

Jean-Luc Petithuguenin (Founder, Paprec): “Profit is the oxygen of a company, but it's only a means and not an end”

For Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, at the head of Paprec for 25 years, reconciling a quest for profit and an awareness for public interest is in no way utopian. The proof: a business which advocates ‘a greener planet and a more fraternal society,’ recycles...

Nicole Notat is the president of Vigeo-Eiris, a multinational consultancy specializing in sustainable development, and the co-author of a report on the social purpose of companies, whose fourteen findings the French government have used as the basis of its Pacte law, designed to stimulate growth and transformation in companies. Here she examines the overarching ambition of her report – to rethink the place and the role of companies within society.

Nicolas Notat (President of Vigeo-Riris): “Staff and shareholders are two constituent parts of value creation”

Nicole Notat is the president of Vigeo-Eiris, a multinational consultancy specializing in sustainable development, and the co-author of a report on the social purpose of companies, whose fourteen findings the French government have used as the basis...