Everyday, subconsciously we live life according to our ethics. Our choices as we go about our days are spelled by our moral beliefs. Do you trust the local supermarket nearest you? Do you go to local fairs with small community vendors? Do you still use single-use plastic products? Are you shifting to organic, all natural and sustainable products? Do you live an eco-friendly lifestyle? Whether we answer yes or no to these questions, ethics play in our decision making.
Ethics, also called moral philosophy, is the discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad, and morally right and wrong. The term is also applied to any system or theory of moral values or principles. Ethics deals with such questions at all levels. Its subject consists of the fundamental issues of practical decision making, and its major concerns include the nature of ultimate value and the standards by which human actions can be judged right or wrong. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/ethics-philosophy)
With almost 8 billion of us living more inter-connectedly on earth, there is constant competition for scarce resources. Businesses are up against monthly - very short returns on investment for their shareholders’ contentment and continued financial support. The need for quick high sales figures often resulted in the disregard for the health of the environment, inequality in the workplace, non-provision of the rightful compensation - benefits for employees, disruption of supplies chains, death of the small local businesses, and even loss of local customs, crafts and traditions. Governments on the other hand are faced with more citizens demanding more responsibility and accountability for their leaders’ policies and actions, for a just and liveable world.
With these complexities and challenges to humankind, arose the mind shift in more people passionately pursuing a friendlier and kinder world. Individuals who stress the need for each person, and including businesses, to be good citizens of the world. That includes practicing good corporate social responsibility for companies to make sustainability a core foundation in their way of business. To go beyond merely obeying the laws in their immediate locations. It is having guiding principles and policies in the conduct of their business that take care of the needs of the present without compromising the future generations ability to meet their own needs. Ethical sustainability would take into account the emphasis and balanced integration of social, economic, cultural and environmental factors in decision making.
But is having ethical sustainability as a purpose in the conduct of business profitable and is it for the long haul? Yes, it is! As consumers - us, are becoming more and more aware of our consumption habits putting a heavy toll on the planet and contributing to issues such as environmental degradation and climate change, we become mindful and change our ways. And as we put into practice new behaviors, we push for businesses to go green! Look around and there’s encouraging shift to businesses, big and small, in practicing these sustainability goals and pillars, and examples of creatively doing it:
Everyday household items such as reusable cutlery and toothbrush, made of fast-growing bamboo, one of the most sustainable plants in the world.
Products are obtained in a responsible manner, wherein workers involved are safe and treated fairly. There is transparency as to the original source of the products.
When referring to food and drinks, natural would mean that nothing artificial or synthetic has been included/ added that would not normally be expected to be in that food.
Researches have shown that shifting away from meat-based diets and going for vegetarian options boosts human lifespans, quality of life and significantly slashes emissions. Plant-based diets use lesser natural resources and are less taxing on the environment.
Producing in small batches provides better control on the “extra waste” produced. Instead of “producing large volumes and then entice orders”, “creating quantities as ordered” is practiced instead.
Vegetables from the local farmers in your community mean less fossil fuel to transport these goods.
Unpredictable market conditions greatly affect farmers lives. Supporting the local farmers nearest you or buying from your local food producers, means you know where your food is coming from, and your spending helps them directly.
Products made of materials that breaks down into natural elements by bacteria or fungi. The decomposition of biodegradable substances into carbon dioxide, water vapour and organic material are not harmful to the environment.
As we continue to be conscientious consumer of products and services, let us be critical and place our trust on businesses echoing our visions for a changed world. The product - service cycle must matter to us: production, distribution, use and disposal. Everyday is a step towards improved societal reforms and advancement, and where we can all live in harmony with the natural processes and rhythms. We must learn to live within the boundaries as set and established by ecological limits.