ASBC Sustainable Business & Advocacy Summit: “Making Capitalism Work for All”
Plenary Sessions

ASBC Sustainable Business & Advocacy Summit: “Making Capitalism Work for All”

1. Our Economic Future: Can Capitalism be Saved?
Among the ranks of top CEOs, alarm is spreading about the future of capitalism. These concerns are driven by rising income inequality, the depth of the Great Recession, a sense that capitalism excessively focuses on individual rather than community success and tax cuts which boosted corporate profits over more productive investments in Main Street. Others worry about industry consolidation and regulations and laws that stifle innovation and competition. A raft of anxieties exists side by side with unprecedented wealth.
This plenary session will examine the root causes of these challenges and identify systemic reforms and policies that address over-consumption, globalization, de-regulation, the excesses of self-interest and the anti-competitive nature of crony capitalism. The challenge is to adopt policies that enable broadly shared prosperity while not frustrating the dynamic forces of business and entrepreneurship. We’ll look at the history of government involvement in the economy, query the premise of the ‘free market’, investigate new ways to measure economic progress, consider a more equitable tax system and discuss how financial capital can be harnessed for good.
⦁        Andy Stern, Workers Benefit Fund
⦁        Thea Lee, Economic Policy Institute
⦁        Hazel Henderson, Ethical Markets Media
⦁        Morris Pearl, Patriotic Millionaires
⦁        Matt Patsky, Trillium
⦁        Benjamin Waterhouse, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
⦁        Jeffrey Hollender, American Sustainable Business Council, moderator

2. Moving from a Shareholder to a Stakeholder Economy: Building a Forward Looking Business Agenda for 2020
The conversation begins with the question: How can we collectively build a stronger and more ethically focused business movement that champions broadly shared prosperity? How can our values and commitment to the triple bottom line be translated into enacting policies that humanizes our economy? While our politics has become polarized, there is another trend of business leaders intent on tackling the fundamental contradictions of our capitalist system.
Companies large and small, are reconsidering what the ‘purpose’ of business is. More are recognizing the shortcomings of a quarter to quarter, profit at all cost strategy as the climate crisis and income inequality deepens. Many are moving away from shareholder primacy to a stakeholder model where social and environmental benefits carry equal weight with financial returns. Others are stepping up to partner with government and champion progressive public policies. Yet, our efforts remain fragmented, especially compared to the power that incumbent business and political interests wield and the expanding threats to our democracy.
⦁        Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab
⦁        Liz Morrison, No Labels
⦁        Kristen Silverberg, Business Roundtable
⦁        Raj Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism
⦁        Evan McMullin, Stand Up Republic
⦁        Richard Eidlin, American Sustainable Business Council, moderator

3. Making Capitalism Work in States, Cities and Rural Communities
While Washington struggles, states, cities and towns are addressing many of the underlying challenges facing our economy. Governors, mayors and legislators are bravely reassessing the value of attracting low-wage businesses and firm-specific development tax incentives. They’re pursuing initiatives involving public investments, higher wages, skills-based education, job creation/training, main street projects and green infrastructure. This session will explore how the Small Business Administration and capital markets can support business activities that yield significant, positive social impact, along with how Rural America can thrive in the midst of urbanization and globalization.
⦁        Rodney Foxworth, Common Future (formerly known as Balle)
⦁        Samuel Hammond, Niskanen Center
⦁        Clint Odom, National Urban League
⦁        Jeff Tkach, Rodale Institute
⦁        Linda Fowler, Founder, Regionerate LLC, moderator

4. Capitalism + Activism: Thoughts from Gen Z and Millennial Leaders
Millennial and Gen Z business, political and civic leaders are experiencing head-on the blessings and failings of our capitalist system. According to several recent polls, they have a more positive view of the word “socialism” than previous generations.
Facing significant challenges, these purpose-driven and media savvy entrepreneurs are often more comfortable than their Baby Boom colleagues in questioning conventional assumptions about how markets work as well as social, environmental and political issues. They know how powerfully their business or personal brand can influence society’s views on racial justice, climate change, environmental stewardship, and equity. Hear how the next generation’s leaders view capitalism and see their role in advancing a more sustainable economy.
⦁        Lela Klein, Co-op Dayton
⦁        Quillian Robinson, American Conservation Coalition
⦁        Tequila Johnson, The Equity Alliance
⦁        Nina Bernardin, Conscious Company, moderator