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Environmental and human rights activist Van Jones address the Conscious Capitalism Bay Area Chapter’s HigherPurpose17 conference in February 2017  via video. His inspiring message about the role of business in creating social change is worth watching.

“Capitalism itself is really on trial,” he said, emphasizing the important role business has to play in solving social problems.

“I see myself often as a changemaker because I’m into politics, but actually I don’t think the political people are making the change,” he explained. “I think it’s the business people, technology, and other folks who are making the change. The thing is, can we not just focus on making change, can we make change work for more people? That’s the opportunity.”

Jones also emphasized the important of vision and mission in creating change. “We have to start from a place with purpose,” he said.

“What is your purpose? Why were you born? Were you just born to make a whole bunch of money, put a bunch of deal points on the board before you die?” he asked the group.

“You think they’re going to put on your tombstone your net worth at the end, or how many deals you got done?” he continued. “I don’t think so. I think you were born for a higher purpose, something greater. And especially in a time like this. Out of 100 business leaders, 99 are just going to figure out how they can make the next buck. But 1 out of 100 are going to think about how they can make the next great civilization for humanity. The next great product or service or discovery that will put us on the road to being where we’re supposed to be as human beings.”

Inspiring words indeed!

Rachel Zurer

Rachel Zurer

Rachel is Conscious Company’s resident words wrangler, in charge of all editorial content. Before joining the CCM in April 2016, Rachel spent nearly 5 years as a print and digital editor on the award-winning team at BACKPACKER magazine. Her freelance writing and radio reporting has appeared in a variety of national publications, including Issues in Science & Technology, Yoga Journal, Paste Magazine, Pacifica Radio, and Wired, where she was a fellow in 2011. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing from Goucher College, studied linguistics and computer science at Duke University, and is a certified yoga teacher.