An ethical perspective on the environment – EBBF statement at COP15

As you might have noticed, I’m not at the COP15 in Copenhagen.

But several of my Baha’i friends are and some of them are attending as members of the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF). The EBBF  has offered a brilliant statement today.

Below is the full text of the EBBF statement (italics is my emphasis):

AN ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE ENVIRONMENT
A statement from the European Baha’i Business Forum December 2009

One of the greatest crises facing all of us living on planet Earth is that of climate change. This global crisis is not limited to one geographic area but affects the entire world’s population, with its drastic consequences being felt particularly by the poor.

The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen offers a unique opportunity to establish a new, global approach to this enormous challenge. As a forum of businesses and business people in 70 countries, EBBF recognizes that the business community, as the perpetuator of much of the damage to the environment, must be among the first to change its practices and behaviours, to base them on an ethical ground, and to play a significant role in creating the new approach to climate change, acknowledging that the problem is, at heart, a moral one of justice and equity which must be tackled in unity.

EBBF recognizes that action and change are needed at all levels, from an individual’s consumption patterns and lifestyle choices to the restructuring and reorientation of enterprises, and the effective implementation of mechanisms of global governance. This is, at base, a call to create a new civilization, a civilization at once just, peaceful, sustainable and prosperous. “We need a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.” Such an ambitious task must start somewhere: EBBF and its members accept that they have a responsibility to live differently, now.

EBBF recognizes that responses to climate change may differ. However defining these responsibilities requires great attention to ethical principles. Justice requires that those who have caused the present environmental crisis bear the main burden to help nations and peoples adapt to the changes in agriculture, production and patterns of life that climate change will inevitably bring.

EBBF asserts that priority must be given to the poorest, who are the least responsible for the problem while being its greatest victims.EBBF recognizes that our decisions and behaviors are the direct consequences of our values and beliefs, no less for the business community than the world at large. Values common to the spiritual heritage of all humanity need to be identified, nurtured, preserved and utilized as the basis of a more cogent and practical response to climate change as such values will enable us to unite to bring about solutions through common projects and global innovation.

EBBF has begun to identify and establish in its own enterprises such values as dialogue, honesty, generosity, respect and justice, which together with trustworthiness, unity, service, benevolence, compassion and mutual respect as fundamental to embedding the changes in practice that will enable people to combat and adapt to climate change.

We call upon business leaders everywhere to a joint effort in rediscovering these values and implementing them in our lives and businesses while working together delving deep into our untapped reservoirs of creativity and innovation where we will, no doubt find beneficial solutions.

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