Summit Agenda


December 10-11, 2019 – Washington, D.C. 

Trust in America’s political and economic systems is fading. CEOs, academics and activists right and left see a threat in our nation’s growing economic inequality and stagnating middle class, and say capitalism needs a course correction. Trust in business and government continues to deteriorate – and these are connected. An increasing number of Americans blame business for its unaccountable manipulation of the market, crony capitalism, and corruponeting influence of money on our elected officials’ decisions. Many Americans, especially young adults, now wonder if socialism would do a better job with the basics, from a living wage to a livable environment.

“I don’t think it’s a conflict of interest to say that you can make money, and have a prosperous and successful business, and you can also do good in the world. And, capitalism needs to evolve if we’re going to have a healthy planet and we’re going to have healthy people on the planet.”

- Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia  

Our view: Capitalism is still a dynamic force for progress and freedom, but it needs a reboot to operate successfully. It’s time for sustainable, innovative business strategies and public policies that combine market-based solutions, responsible business values and effective government oversight. In the past, American business has improved our quality of life and helped to restore confidence in our political and economic systems, and we can do it again ― by making capitalism work for all.  

Start now: Join ASBC, the leading national voice for sustainable business thought and advocacy, for our 2019 Summit. On Day One, you’ll hear from business and political leaders, journalists and activists representing progressive, moderate and conservative views on the future of capitalism. Does the U.S. need more government intervention, or less of a thumb on the scale for certain sectors? How can we better address monopolies’ effect on competition and innovation? Do we need an official industrial policy?

“I’m a capitalist. Come on! I believe in markets. What I don’t believe in is theft.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren 

What policies and incentives would encourage capital markets to create well-paying jobs and support sustainable growth? What version of capitalism will work best for the U.S. in this increasingly interdependent world? Speakers and small discussion groups will explore how the rules governing our economy and political system can be reformed to vigorously address climate change, our crumbling infrastructure, and our declining standard of living.

On Day Two, we’ll go to Capitol Hill to meet with dozens of members of Congress and their staffs on environmental, workplace, and economic issues. We’ll advocate for policies that have been successfully applied in sustainably run businesses. And we’ll share ASBC’s view that fresh policies combining market-based solutions, responsible business values and robust government oversight will restore confidence in our country’s political and economic systems.

Would your success increase if we built a more competitive, innovative, inclusive and sustainable economy?  Come to Washington, DC December 10-11, 2019 and let’s get started.

December 10, 2019

7:30 – 8:45 AM  Registration:

K & L Gates LLP, 1601 K Street, NW , Washington, DC

7:30 – 8:30 AM Breakfast & High-Impact Issues Update

Enjoy complementary Continental breakfast and meet peers as you hear from business leaders involved in ASBC’s issues advocacy work. Get updated on the latest political dynamics and legislative opportunities on issues that will impact your company and America’s future including: sustainable packaging, women, the high-road workplace/employee ownership, safer chemicals, regenerative agriculture, diversity and inclusion, and climate/energy.  

9:00 – 9:10 AM Welcome

Opening remarks by Jeffrey Hollender, ASBC CEO & Co-founder and ASBC Co-founder and Summit Organizer, Richard Eidlin

9:10 – 10:00 AM 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.

“I’m a capitalist, and even I think capitalism is broken.”
- Ray Dalio, Bridgewater 

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.

10:10 – 11:00 AM Moving from a Shareholder to a Stakeholder Economy: Building a Forward Looking Business Agenda for 2020

“So much of what we’ve got to get done, from climate change to health care to changing tax code, is going to require us to change the way our politics work.”
- Senator Michael Bennet

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.

11:05 – 11:25 AM Networking Break with Refreshments

11:30 – 12:25 PM Breakout Workshops – Can Capitalism Save Our Planet?

Scores of exciting ideas to foster market-based innovations and revive our broad economy are percolating in all areas and at all levels. We’ve identified a few of the big-picture initiatives that many experts think will make the biggest difference for the most people ― including America’s responsible business leaders, their customers, employees and other stakeholders. Hear from business leaders, trade associations, academic experts and Capitol Hill staff in your choice of these one-hour workshops:  

Workshop 1: What Will It Take to Solve the Climate Crisis?

Can our capitalistic society look beyond the next quarter, sharply reduce its resource consumption, and save our climate, communities and essential water supplies? How can we create bipartisan support to invest in green infrastructure, clean energy and water quality technologies? What strategies will best address economic externalities and historic anti- competitive subsidies for carbon intensive fuels? And what policies will best offset inequities, jobs impact and regional disparities as we transition from fossil fuels? From a price on carbon to the more ambitious Green New Deal, business can be part of the solution.

Workshop 2: Can Capitalism Dig Out from Its Own Waste?

Public concern is growing over the safety of the chemicals we use daily along with packaging waste pollution both of which destructive impact on Earth’s environment. Throughout their supply chains, companies are taking aggressive steps to use less material and switch to non- toxic, bioplastic or compostable resources. But more needs to be done. State and city legislators are requiring ingredient transparency, banning single-use plastics and adopting take- back programs. Some in Congress are working to regulate dangerous chemicals and explore a national strategy to build out our recycling infrastructure. Join the discussion about product innovations, market-based incentives, and public policies to promote sustainable materials and foster a circular economy.

Workshop 3: The Future of Work: Why the High Road is the Only Road!

The on-demand “gig” economy offers new opportunities but has seriously eroded workers’ traditional benefits and protections. Globalization and automation deliver lower consumer prices but unreliable employment, inadequate retirement benefits and lower wages. Calls for a livable minimum wage, fair classification to qualify lower-wage workers for overtime and other policy measures reflect the public’s concern. What’s more, today’s young talents seek employers that offer equitable opportunities, good pay and benefits, family-friendly policies and an ethical, public stance on social issues. Modern day capitalism faces many challenges, but the good news is that many companies are adopting “high-road” workplace practices while supporting public policies that enable employees to own a piece of the economy and restore the middle class.

12:30 – 1:50 PM Lunch Buffet & Short Presentations

Refuel at this ample lunch buffet featuring delicious and healthful favorites. Then, power up as we discuss ways to shift our mental models about capitalism and create a stronger coalition to tackle the challenges ahead.

2:00 – 2:50 PM 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.

“Capitalism, as it is currently playing out in America, is yielding such inequality that people start saying, this isn’t working. We have to find our way to a capitalism where, if you work full time, you’re not poor; you have health care and housing and your kids can go to a public school that’s decent. If we can get ourselves to that place, capitalism will be sustained”
- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo

3:00 – 3:30 PM Networking Break with Refreshments

3:35 – 4:30 PM Workshops: Changing the Dialogue about Capitalism

Choose one of these engaging workshops to participate in.

A. Advocacy & Communications: Promoting a More Responsible Form of Capitalism.

Politicians and the media listen to company leaders — but what set of business values have the last word when it comes to explaining “what business wants?” Triple bottom line run companies who recognize the need for reforming our economy have a unique, historic opportunity to shape the popular narrative about what values and priorities should drive our economy in the 2020’s.

The debate over what constitutes ‘success’ as a business and what role government should play vis a vis market forces is gearing up and will become even louder with the 2020 election. Learn how to develop compelling and inspirational messages that resonate with elected officials and journalists and help promote a more responsible form of capitalism.

B. How to Talk About Race, Equity and Economic Justice

Over our history, capitalism’s rising tide has lifted many, but not all, boats. While the Obama Presidency encouraged the view that ours is a post-racial era, more recent events have not. As diversity in America’s society and workforce grows, so does the need for honest, productive discussions by business and civic leaders and policymakers.

This session offers a safe space for participants to share their thoughts about race, privilege and inclusion in the workplace, and the unconscious biases and assumptions that each of us holds. We’ll also discuss the steps high-road businesses and policymakers can take to create an economy where capitalism works for all.

4:40 – 5:30 PM 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.

6:30 – 9:00 PM Reception & Awards Ceremony

“Short-term economic growth does not guarantee a strong and prosperous nation. If we do not change our public policies to reflect long-term investment as a priority, we will not be able to compete globally or build the America our values demand. ”

-Senator Marco Rubio  

ASBC Office, 1001 G Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001

We are pleased to announce our five recipients of the 2019 Sustainable Leaders Award:

  • U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – Leadership in Building a Sustainable and High-Road Economy
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) – Leadership in Building an Equitable and High-Road Economy
  • EILEEN FISHER company –Leadership in Supporting a High-Road Workplace
  • Michael Peck 1worker1vote Co-Founder/ Executive Director& ASBC Board Secretary – Leadership
    in Promoting Worker Ownership
  • Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement – Leadership in Tackling Climate Change

Enjoy a warm welcome this evening with drinks and bountiful hors d’oeuvres at ASBC’s headquarters. Then applaud as we present our annual Sustainable Leadership Award to some of the business leaders, legislators and other influencers who are making the world a better place every day. You’ll be in good company – and you’ll be inspired!


December 11, 2019
Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

Business attire is suggested for meetings and events on Capitol Hill.

8:30 AM Orientation Meeting, Science Committee hearing room, 2318 Rayburn Office Building

Kick off an important day of meetings on the Hill with a practical learning session! ASBC’s advocacy professionals will prepare you to conduct productive meetings with elected officials and staff. We’ll also provide your individual and team assignments, coordinate “asks” to save time in short meetings, and equip you with helpful message-points materials.  

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Capitol Hill Meetings

Meet in ASBC-led small groups with selected Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

12:30 – 2:00 PM Lunch

Gather a few Summit friends and take a break for lunch, Dutch Treat. With ASBC’s provided restaurant listings, descriptions and maps, you’ll discover why D.C. is a world-class dining city!

4:00 to 5:30 PM ASBC Happy Hour

Join fellow Summit attendees for a little more networking at the Capitol Lounge, 229 Pennsylvania Avenue; two blocks from Capitol Hill.

ASBC’s board and staff thank our allies and sponsors for their support – and thank you for joining us as we continue to advance a more equitable, vibrant, sustainable economy – capitalism that works for all.