I’m writing a series of articles for Exeter Cathedral’s monthly news, on the changes we can make in our own lives, and how we can encourage governments and business to make necessary structural changes. We have til the end of 2020 to ‘save the planet’. So that’s just 12 months now.
Or… How can we work together to save our life-support system and cherish God’s good creation? So far, I’ve suggested three personal steps: start by calculating your environmental footprint; take a Sabbath from consuming; save energy in your home. The fourth step was to put pressure on the Government to achieve necessary structural change. This month I’m considering the other side of the structural coin.
5. Put pressure on business
Just as governments are reluctant to do anything without pressure from electors, so are most businesses reluctant to do anything unless it reflects well on them and their bottom line. Educate yourself about ethical business practice: the environmental and social bottom lines as well as the financial. Ask questions like Is this ‘greenwash’? or Who profits? and inoculate yourself against advertising. Hold companies that behave badly to account: boycott them and write to them explaining why; highlight bad practice on social media; sign petitions and campaign against eg oil companies’ sponsorship of the arts. Support social enterprises, local independent businesses and companies that behave well. Praise good practice. Cathedrals, the Church Commissioners and other faith bodies are not exempt. Check out the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (eccr.org.uk) whose “vision is to see money used in a way that creates a fairer and more sustainable world.”
6. Put your money where your heart is
This could be one of the biggest differences you can make personally. What are your own financial, environmental and social bottom lines? How ethical is your bank? What about your pension fund or any investments? Are they doing the planet and people good or harm? Is the money in your current and savings accounts being invested in fossil fuels (and landmines and nuclear weapons)? Most of the big banks are appalling, but there are other choices that are much more ethical. Nationwide BS and Co-operative Bank are probably the most well-known and convenient, and you can find more information atethicalconsumer.org and thegoodshoppingguide.com.