This is the question we discussed today: Isn’t the business of business business? When there is money to be made, can the business world be trusted to do the right thing? Will they self-correct on important issues such as human rights issues, important ethical and moral rights, and values of common humanity?
That title sounds like a mouth full especially when one starts to define what it means in terms of sexual harassment, child labor, fair pay, safe work conditions, ethical investment, creation care, wage differentials, health policies, contamination at work and mining sites, living wage, disaster management…just a few things mentioned this morning. This is important stuff for people of faith for two reasons.
1. “The Earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof.” Genesis 1: 1, Psalm 2: 1, I Cor. 10: 26
2. Work is worship. How we conduct ourselves Monday through Saturday is what we bring to the Lord. Colossians 3: 23
We heard a presentation by two people directly engaged with Bench Marks Foundation, a faith initiated (2001), South African based, globally involved, focused on ethical conduct in the world of business…primarily the mining sector since this is the single largest industry in South Africa with one thousand (Plus or minus) mining entities in the country. Several things I heard that stood out to me.
1. This is not an individually supported endeavor nor are the results of their research linked to the pew.
2. It is supported by and reports to the Catholic Bishop’s Council, South Africa Council of Churches and amazing to me, a number of European countries, countries that we in North America might call socialist, post Christian, acting more Christian than what we in the West might expect, compassionate, and quite effective.
3. With a staff of under ten and an annual budget of under one million, it is quite amazing their accomplishments, influence, and access to corporate power structures.
4. Their work is built on establishing long term relationships, factually based research, and engaging the relevant communities.
5. Much of their research is that of policy gap studies, that is, evaluation of what is explicitly stated (Corporate spin) and what exists.
I listened carefully this morning comparing it to what I heard on Moody Radio (A very conservative Christian radio station in the mid-west) this past week. It was an interview where the guest was talking about the need to engage business where annual corporate board meetings are being held by zoom. He had a series of questions he was advocating people who had stock in these corporations should be asking about their corporate social contributions.
This past week I had lunch with the Director of Disciple Marketplace Leaders (DML). This is all about awakening and empowering business people to their God given calling. www.disciplingmarketplaceleaders.org
Seems to me God is initiating a movement outside the institutional church.