THE Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has
be-come what is believed to be the first province in the Anglican
Communion to pledge itself to divest from fossil fuels.
The diocesan synod passed a resolution on Wednesday of last
week, requiring the diocese to "take all reasonable steps" to sell
its shares in fossil-fuel companies by its next synod, in
Rod Oram, who moved the proposal, said: "Of all the ways in
which we live unsustainably, it is climate change that is causing
the gravest harm - right now, here and around the world - to the
very ecosystem on which our existence depends."
The general manager of the Pension Board, Mark Wilcox, warned
that "if a divestment programme risks having a significant
financial detriment, we cannot legally divest." He cautioned that
disinvestment would not be possible unless the Board could put the
funds into other investments offering a similar rate of
Golden rule revisited
A new proposal based on a very old rule was published this week
by the Institute of Business Ethics.
Towards Ethical Norms in International Business
Transactions revisits the 1995 Interfaith Declaration - A
Code of Ethics for International Business - which was written
by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders. It suggests that, in the
intervening period, a "very substantial acceleration in world trade
and investment" has given rise to the need for further work to
establish a "consensus on ethical norms in international business
The author, Simon Webley, argues that the "golden rule" - "Treat
others as you would like them to treat you" - is "the closest that
there is to a universal norm". He suggests: "If it is applied in
every instance of business interaction, and taken seriously by the
parties involved, unethical behaviour is likely to be reduced, with
the potential that prosperity will increase."
On Monday, Mr Webley said: "Religious expression comes into
virtually all aspects of human life, and the business world is not
exempt from that. . . This one core value is common to most
cultures and religions. If you have got some basis for establishing
trust, then more trade and investment will take place, whatever the
cultures of originating countries."
On Sunday, Richard D. North, of the Institute of Economic
Affairs, a free-market think tank, told the Radio 4 Sunday
programme that he had misgivings about the report: "I can't see
that the relationships that one has in business are remotely like
the relationships one has as enjoined by Christ.
"One doesn't deploy love as Christ requires, and as this
interfaith code requires. . . A business that tried to love
everybody would be in the end operating much more as a charity than
as a business."