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Elevated Economics: How Conscious Consumers Will Fuel the Future of Business

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A vital leadership guide to understanding and engaging socially responsible consumers and investors Consumers and investors have innovated their game. Now you as a leader must innovate with them or face the consequences.  In this engaging and persuasive guide to the new world of conscious capitalism, entrepreneur and investor Richard Steel details the inevitability of the co A vital leadership guide to understanding and engaging socially responsible consumers and investors Consumers and investors have innovated their game. Now you as a leader must innovate with them or face the consequences.  In this engaging and persuasive guide to the new world of conscious capitalism, entrepreneur and investor Richard Steel details the inevitability of the coming changes in capitalism.  Our economy has become increasingly values-driven, and consumers have begun to care more about the principles of the companies from which they buy. With an eye toward the future of sustainability, Elevated Economics provides you with: * Crucial information on the rise of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices. * Informative, firsthand interviews with Ivy League business school professors and CEOs of successful companies who actively follow the ESG model. * A framework for understanding trends in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). Steel makes the case that ESG is more than a burgeoning trend, and as a leader, you must get on board or risk extinction.


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A vital leadership guide to understanding and engaging socially responsible consumers and investors Consumers and investors have innovated their game. Now you as a leader must innovate with them or face the consequences.  In this engaging and persuasive guide to the new world of conscious capitalism, entrepreneur and investor Richard Steel details the inevitability of the co A vital leadership guide to understanding and engaging socially responsible consumers and investors Consumers and investors have innovated their game. Now you as a leader must innovate with them or face the consequences.  In this engaging and persuasive guide to the new world of conscious capitalism, entrepreneur and investor Richard Steel details the inevitability of the coming changes in capitalism.  Our economy has become increasingly values-driven, and consumers have begun to care more about the principles of the companies from which they buy. With an eye toward the future of sustainability, Elevated Economics provides you with: * Crucial information on the rise of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices. * Informative, firsthand interviews with Ivy League business school professors and CEOs of successful companies who actively follow the ESG model. * A framework for understanding trends in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). Steel makes the case that ESG is more than a burgeoning trend, and as a leader, you must get on board or risk extinction.

30 review for Elevated Economics: How Conscious Consumers Will Fuel the Future of Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Venky

    On the 3rd of January 2020, two of the largest Private Equity funds, KKR and TPG, with a combined asset base of approximately $330bn between them, decided to report by April 2020, both the positive impacts as well as negative externalities, of their investments, on environmental, social and governance aspects. This announcement illustrates the growing popularity amongst investors to adhere to the tenets of Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”). SRI has transcended from being a mere exercise in On the 3rd of January 2020, two of the largest Private Equity funds, KKR and TPG, with a combined asset base of approximately $330bn between them, decided to report by April 2020, both the positive impacts as well as negative externalities, of their investments, on environmental, social and governance aspects. This announcement illustrates the growing popularity amongst investors to adhere to the tenets of Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”). SRI has transcended from being a mere exercise in lip service to a set of binding principles that determines the growth trajectory of many Multinational Enterprises. In tandem with the investor bent of mind, even corporates themselves are beginning to transform the way they operate. Shareholder activism is no longer the sole driver spurring a company along. Shareholder value has been replaced by stakeholder value where the latter encompasses within its ambit the Environment, Society and Governance (“ESG”). American entrepreneur, investor and former advisor to the White House Business Council in his forthcoming book, “Elevated Economics” illustrates these transformational trends ushered in by a shifting consumer mindset that demands ‘values’ over value and invests in a product more for what it stands rather than for what it does. The book is an outcome of extensive research and interviews conducted with CEOs and Ivy League Professors of business, marketing, and consumer behaviour. Hence the plethora of anecdotal emphasis that runs throughout the book. Mr. Steel defines Elevated Economics as “a coalescence of several complex factors. Changes in consumer employment, social, marketing, environmental, and corporate governance practices all contribute to this single term. Essentially the Elevated Economy represents what research and analysis seem to indicate will be the next great change in capitalism.” This change, Dr, Steel emphasizes, would be triggered, to a significant extant, by a humungous “Wealth Migration” where approximately $68.4 trillion would change hands over the course of the next couple of decades, from Baby Boomers to Gen Z and the Millennials. When it comes to customer preferences, the new owners of wealth surely know to put their money where the mouth is. They also demand accountability, responsibility and societal obligations. This is the very demand that made Nike abandon their whole ‘sweatshop’ initiative and remake themselves as a brand of responsibility. Not to be left behind, its fiercest competitor Adidas teaming up with “Parley for The Oceans”, are making sneakers out of plastic ocean waste. As Mr. Steel illustrates in his book many companies such as Method, Impossible Foods, Patagonia, TOMS shoes, and Birdies have taken the concept of ESG to hitherto unseen levels. In India, the business practices of the TATA Group of companies have birthed a paradigm shift in the very fundamental manner in which a Corporate Group goes about its activities. The “TATA way” thus stands for integrity, empowerment and aggrandizement. One classic illustration of the apotheosis that is the TATA way is the path-breaking labour welfare measures which were instituted within the Group even before the relevant statutes were incorporated. Some of them include an eight-hour working day, free medical aid, establishment of a welfare department, leave with pay, workers’ provident fund scheme, workmen’s accident compensation scheme, maternity benefits, profit sharing bonus and retiring gratuity. Maybe this is the direct result of TATA employees putting in decades with the company, ignoring much more lucrative competing offers. On the 19th of August 2019, some of the top CEOs in the US, jointly pledged to place stakeholder value over shareholder value in a remarkable show of societal obligation. Mr. Steel identifies four “Cornerstones” that might have a solid and significant influence on the changing Corporate Philosophy. Diversity and Inclusion (going beyond mere tokenism and compliance with hiring policies); Equality in Pay; Impact (ensuring that ESG activities impact the community as illustrated by Wells Fargo in its CSR initiatives); Bring The Market (instead of Go To Market); The impact of all this is a burgeoning growth in “ESG” assets. According to the US SIF Foundation’s “Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends”, Socially Responsible Investor assets are growing at nearly 40% year-over-year since 2016. In fact, more than $12 trillion are invested in a variety of socially responsible ways. While the book contains many interesting illustrations of companies consciously deciding to invest in CSR initiatives and the consumer loyalty towards such companies, the one segment where I have serious issues reconciling with Mr. Steel’s views and his own practice is his patronage towards Starbucks. Waxing eloquent over their matching 401(k) payments even for part time employees and The Starbucks Partner Achievement Program, Mr. Steel says he will not mind dishing out a premium to enjoy his Pike Place every morning. In a report damningly titled, “How Starbucks avoids UK Taxes”, Tom Bergin of Reuters illustrates that “Accounts filed by its UK subsidiary show that since it opened in the UK in 1998 the company has racked up over 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) in coffee sales, and opened 735 outlets but paid only 8.6 million pounds in income taxes, largely due because the taxman disallowed some deductions.” Over the past three years [since 2012], Starbucks has reported no profit, and paid no income tax, on sales of 1.2 billion pounds in the UK. McDonald’s, by comparison, had a tax bill of over 80 million pounds on 3.6 billion pounds of UK sales. Kentucky Fried Chicken, part of Yum Brands Inc., the no. 3 global restaurant or cafe chain by market capitalization, incurred taxes of 36 million pounds on 1.1 billion pounds in UK sales, according to the accounts of their UK units.” Katherine Campbell and Duane Helleloid of the University of North Dakota have published a full-length paper titled, “Starbucks: Social Responsibility and Tax Avoidance.” The European Commission has also initiated proceedings against the tactics initiated by Starbucks to avoid paying its rightful share of taxes, even though to the credit of the beverage giant the European Commission was unable to demonstrate the existence of an advantage bestowed by the Dutch Tax authorities in favour of Starbucks. Thus, this is the only part of the book that rankles me. Else “Elevated Economics” is a thought-provoking work that illustrates in telling detail the future vector of both buyer behaviour and Corporate Strategy. (Elevated Economics: How conscious consumers will fuel the future of business by Richard Steel is distributed by the Green Leaf Book Group and published by Fast Company Press, and and will be released on the 6th of October 2020.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Almira Manesia

    This book just kept repeating about ESG but I understand how important it is to start investing in this too. The author Richard Steels shows us how this change is taking place in the economical world. The key to making a business successful is having social engagement with consumers. I sort of understood it after I also did some research on this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Charvel

    Reading is always enlightening. It is even more interesting when you like and admire the author. I have the honor of knowing Richard Steel who is much more interesting and knowledgable than any bio that can be included in a book. I believe this is his first book and I admire his courage of claiming a new way of understating capitalism in what he calles the Elevated Economics, which is how consumer behavior is changing companies that will need to be more environmentally conscious, socially focused Reading is always enlightening. It is even more interesting when you like and admire the author. I have the honor of knowing Richard Steel who is much more interesting and knowledgable than any bio that can be included in a book. I believe this is his first book and I admire his courage of claiming a new way of understating capitalism in what he calles the Elevated Economics, which is how consumer behavior is changing companies that will need to be more environmentally conscious, socially focused and with better governance (or focused on ESGs as well as Social Developmental Goals or SDGs). I really hope Richard is right and that the world changes fast enough to make this a more conscious planet. When you read his pages, you forget about people denying climate change. About people not using masks to save lives during the pandemic. Racists, sexists, extreme religious groups and bigots seem to not have a place in the world that Richard is trying to imagine. I hope he is right. Personally there is a part in the book that introduce two key concepts in my understanding of the world. Richard states that the concept of middle class is an industrial revolution byproduct. In the same page, however, he confirms that 2015 was the last year where the middle class was a majority in the US. Can we really get to an Elevated Economy if we have not re invented our means of production and distribution? Can an elevated economy exist without a middle class or a substitute of the middle class? I hope Richard considers these questions for his next books.

  4. 4 out of 5

    S a r a h r e a d s a l o t

    Interesting and insightful, this book is a careful analysis of new and now-solidified trends in marketing and capitalism. I found it to be relevant and timely. I do take issue with one area of the book though. The author discusses diversity over and over again, and while there's no question America is in the throes of yet another racial reckoning, I fear the book falls prey to exactly the very tokenism the author warns about. At one point, the author correctly states that diversity and inclusion Interesting and insightful, this book is a careful analysis of new and now-solidified trends in marketing and capitalism. I found it to be relevant and timely. I do take issue with one area of the book though. The author discusses diversity over and over again, and while there's no question America is in the throes of yet another racial reckoning, I fear the book falls prey to exactly the very tokenism the author warns about. At one point, the author correctly states that diversity and inclusion should be valued, and that "the goal cannot be just to build multicultural or multiethnic teams. The priority has to be intentionally and consistently creating systems and pathways by which every person in a company has equal access to success and an equal chance to thrive." Agreed, and yet, what does this mean exactly? Because this should be true in any company with regard to all employees irrespective of a discussion on race or inclusion. If overt and racist practices are in place, then absolutely those need to be eradicated. But if employees already have "equal access to success" then it can be unhelpful and even damaging to start creating systems to signal how woke or progressive a company is that do little to actually support employees but simply exist to wave at shareholders as evidence of being a "good" company; in some cases, such programs can actually create employee division. Again I think the author understands this, but I found the narrative around this underdeveloped, especially considering how many places the author managed to work in references to diversity. See Lindsay and Pluckrose's Cynical Theories as an interesting counterpoint to this discussion (C.Theories has also been criticized for various reasons but I believe the broad thesis holds). Ultimately, an interesting and thought-provoking read. I do think the author is right to emphasize that companies have a responsibility for social engagement in the 21st century, and the book is worth reading for this conversation alone. Thank you netgalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Rec'd digital version through #GoodReadsGiveaway. My desire to read this comes from renewed interest in public policy & economics. This was a really good read. I was worried, that the terminology might be too specific for me; but, I was able to keep up. New terms for market trends are introduced, key among them are "Elevated Economics", "Elevated Consumers" & the new, 5th "P" (Purpose). Once the reader has a working definition, you can quickly follow along on how these concepts have been identifi Rec'd digital version through #GoodReadsGiveaway. My desire to read this comes from renewed interest in public policy & economics. This was a really good read. I was worried, that the terminology might be too specific for me; but, I was able to keep up. New terms for market trends are introduced, key among them are "Elevated Economics", "Elevated Consumers" & the new, 5th "P" (Purpose). Once the reader has a working definition, you can quickly follow along on how these concepts have been identified and how smart companies are embracing these changes now; instead of being hit with them in a few years when it will be harder to catch up. Along with a generational market shift (Boomers to Millennials), there is an increasing awareness of socially & ecologically responsible consuming. Why buy 15 pairs of cheap shoes, when 2-3 pairs of responsibly sourced & well-made shoes will work. The shift in ideology that Steel captures so succinctly has started. His prediction is that not only will it continue, but it will drive future investment and hence, changes to how businesses operate. The arguments are not only very persuasive, but validated my own anecdotal views. So, I guess, I am biased. Regardless, this was not a quick read. I suspect, the book is to be used to supplement lectures. The chapters are easily digestible; but for an neophyte, might require a few breaks to digest all the new info. Still, I found I could get on board with most of Steel's arguments. It's a great Econ 101 book for any investor or business leader. Change is indeed coming!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** The elevated economy is one that is driven by more than just profit...it's driven also by values. Environmental, Social, and Labor practices are key components of an elevated economy. The author very firmly believes that we are moving towards this economy; no, he firmly believes we are already there. Unfortunately, I don't feel the data supports as much enthusiasm as he has. Yes, consumers are demanding more values from company and absolutely we are s ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** The elevated economy is one that is driven by more than just profit...it's driven also by values. Environmental, Social, and Labor practices are key components of an elevated economy. The author very firmly believes that we are moving towards this economy; no, he firmly believes we are already there. Unfortunately, I don't feel the data supports as much enthusiasm as he has. Yes, consumers are demanding more values from company and absolutely we are seeing that play out in both how businesses are ran and how people invest. Changes are happening. But can we really compare this to the internet? The industrial revolution? I don't think so. The data is fascinating and supports the author's claim that business will have to evolve to changes in how consumers make decisions. As we have virtually unlimited options for virtually every purchase...consumers have expanded their criteria. This is, I believe, a natural consequence of the information age.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cchs

    I found this book insightful, thoughtful, and accessible. Structured around real-word examples, the book lays out a convincing argument for an economy in which social return is given equal consideration as financial return. As Investors increasingly join consumers in demanding that companies make positive contributions to society, Steel articulates a compelling framework for business leaders, policy makers, and investors what want to thrive in a rapidly evolving economy. The book is well-research I found this book insightful, thoughtful, and accessible. Structured around real-word examples, the book lays out a convincing argument for an economy in which social return is given equal consideration as financial return. As Investors increasingly join consumers in demanding that companies make positive contributions to society, Steel articulates a compelling framework for business leaders, policy makers, and investors what want to thrive in a rapidly evolving economy. The book is well-researched and well-written. It is mercifully jargon-free and in cases where established terminology is necessary, the author defines and contextualizes those terms in a way that is neither presumptive nor condescending. Elevated Economics is a force multiplier for good and a toolkit for maintaining the relevance of capitalism. A must-read for anyone who wants to do business in the next decade and beyond.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Readel

    Throughout history there are numerous examples of consumers changing buying behaviors, adapting to new products, corporate philosophies, government policies and structural changes to the economy. Mr. Steel‘s book Elevated Economics takes the discussion to a new level as he describes the evolution that is taking place in the modern business world and global economy. All business and leaders/educators need to be aware of the massive tidal shift that is currently underway. Regardless of whether you a Throughout history there are numerous examples of consumers changing buying behaviors, adapting to new products, corporate philosophies, government policies and structural changes to the economy. Mr. Steel‘s book Elevated Economics takes the discussion to a new level as he describes the evolution that is taking place in the modern business world and global economy. All business and leaders/educators need to be aware of the massive tidal shift that is currently underway. Regardless of whether you agree with Mr. Steel‘s conclusions, his presentation of data and supporting research will cause you to pause and ask yourself, “How do I make my purchasing and investing decisions and how are others making their’s”? These are complex questions and ones that all of us should spend some time pondering. Elevated Economics is a necessary read for any business leader attempting to see the future and set themselves up for success. Thought provoking for sure, outstanding effort

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jason Caldwell

    If you're looking for a book that gives a very convincing argument on ESG investing and its benefits to the investor, the world, and humanity, look no further than Elevated Economics. However, what I found to be the most compelling aspect of this book is the authors modesty. Too many times I find books written by subject matter experts to be self-aggrandizing and full of hubris. Mr. Steel offers a refreshing alternative to these books by keeping the focus not on himself, but on the facts, figure If you're looking for a book that gives a very convincing argument on ESG investing and its benefits to the investor, the world, and humanity, look no further than Elevated Economics. However, what I found to be the most compelling aspect of this book is the authors modesty. Too many times I find books written by subject matter experts to be self-aggrandizing and full of hubris. Mr. Steel offers a refreshing alternative to these books by keeping the focus not on himself, but on the facts, figures, and the thought leaders and business leaders he interviews. It's obvious Mr. Steel has accomplished a great deal, but when he purposefully shifts the spotlight to others, I found myself that much more engaged. This is a must read for those looking to leverage their current position by doing what's best for those around us.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carlo Palmieri

    Most repetitive book I have ever read. Just talks about ESG the whole book and doesn’t point out that most of the companies he lists only have high ESG scores because they’re massive companies with plenty of disposable cash. Also, he puts a lot of weight into Gen Z not changing from their ways. Most of them don’t have jobs so their parents are actually the ones buying the over prices environmentally friendly products. Although there inevitably will be some shift towards ESG this author says its Most repetitive book I have ever read. Just talks about ESG the whole book and doesn’t point out that most of the companies he lists only have high ESG scores because they’re massive companies with plenty of disposable cash. Also, he puts a lot of weight into Gen Z not changing from their ways. Most of them don’t have jobs so their parents are actually the ones buying the over prices environmentally friendly products. Although there inevitably will be some shift towards ESG this author says its the only thing that matters despite bringing up how FAANG is not ESG friendly and continues to out perform many of the ESG friendly companies. Overall, you can sum up this boom in 10 pages...he likes looking at ESG rating for companies and makes you read 200 pages of the same thing so you know that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ted Scofield

    Books on leadership tend to be dependably and predictably un-topical. That is, leadership is leadership; the basics rarely change. Today, however, leaders are facing structural shifts in consumer behavior that must be acknowledged, understood, and addressed. The game *has* changed, and Richard Steel's ELEVATED ECONOMICS is the first book that truly captures what is happening, with regard to issues like ESG, SRI and others, and how leaders should (and must) react. Steel interviews both thought le Books on leadership tend to be dependably and predictably un-topical. That is, leadership is leadership; the basics rarely change. Today, however, leaders are facing structural shifts in consumer behavior that must be acknowledged, understood, and addressed. The game *has* changed, and Richard Steel's ELEVATED ECONOMICS is the first book that truly captures what is happening, with regard to issues like ESG, SRI and others, and how leaders should (and must) react. Steel interviews both thought leaders & practice leaders from a variety of organizations, and his examples are spot-on. If you read one book on leadership this year, this should be the one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Redundant The entire book summed up in one sentence. If you are in business, have a global purpose. Every topic and chapter was claiming the youth care about the planet, so you better make sustainable, carbon limited products or they won’t buy them. Drop names of big businesses to seem official and repeat saving the planet. #GoodreadsGiveaway

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deidre

    A great overview of the potential in ESG investing and how the triple bottom line is important to the consumer of tomorrow. The book uses plenty of case studies and statistics to show that the companies will need to pay attention to issues of sustainability, employee happiness, and positive action in order to keep customers and grow in the future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Richard Steel has written a playbook for navigating the new business paradigm that we all find ourselves immersed in. Our customers and candidates expect and deserve more. Elevated Economics lays out intentional and actionable steps backed by data to help us all best adapt to this fast changing landscape.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jon S

    Capitalism is changing . . . for the better. Steel encourages the reader to pause and think about how we can all embrace the new stakeholder capitalism and how this critical new thinking is shaping our economic world.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Kirschner

    A book ahead of its time. Years from now, nobody will question whether impact investing, social ventures, and the values of ESG will drive market returns and customer loyalty. Richard Steel's prescience is rooted in historical facts and figures. A book ahead of its time. Years from now, nobody will question whether impact investing, social ventures, and the values of ESG will drive market returns and customer loyalty. Richard Steel's prescience is rooted in historical facts and figures.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian O'Keefe

    Much appreciation for shedding light that the double bottom line is gone, and one can invest in ESG/SRI opportunities while keeping economics returns in mind. Excellent! The author does a fabulous job in framing ESG/SRI for generations to come. Great read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alex Fortney

    I thought this book was very insightful, and it kept my interest going. If your looking for a book this perspective from this author is spot on. Definitely recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    Great I won the giveaway, can't wait to start reading Great I won the giveaway, can't wait to start reading

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tariq Aziz

    Good

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Simmons

    Simply brilliant. A compelling argument for the change in investor and consumer behaviour. I would recommend this to all business leaders.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    I'm not usually into books regarding business but entered and won this one in a giveaway. The writing style was easy to follow as were the ideas. For anyone interested in starting a business this might be a good book to read to get an idea of how important purpose is in creating a business. I'm not usually into books regarding business but entered and won this one in a giveaway. The writing style was easy to follow as were the ideas. For anyone interested in starting a business this might be a good book to read to get an idea of how important purpose is in creating a business.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It was a good, though short, introduction to the changing business climate on 2020. I am not a business person, but it was s as an interesting insight into how the world and the consumers of the world are influencing markets. A worthwhile read

  24. 4 out of 5

    D

  25. 5 out of 5

    Arun

  26. 5 out of 5

    Malak Darwish

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Harrison

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ted Scofield

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anh

  30. 4 out of 5

    Glory Dey

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