Religion, Environment and Economy
Many religions in their most ancient texts and traditions frame narratives about the place of humanity within creation or the environment. The other seismic global upheaval is in the economic sphere and religion also has a role to play here too.
Religions harbour attitudes and behaviours that have planetary impact. The development of new theological, spiritual ways of thinking is a vital area for future research. Moreover, as high-magnitude changes in habitat occur, bringing resource scarcity and unequal destructive impact, the potential grows for conflict. Religious differences and ethical imperatives will be central to conflict resolution and prevention.
Many religions have ethical guidelines on economic issues and have enshrined these in law. There is a new awareness of these needs, and increasing interest in ethical investment. Religions also offer spirituality, a sense of meaning and purpose. These are values often missing from the workplace, and from the creation, distribution and management of wealth. Analysis with creative thinking can forge a fresh international approach to ethical wealth.
What does this look like in practice?
Lokahi’s director, Professor Gwen Griffith-Dickson currently sits on the judging panel for the Farsight Award, which recognises innovation in ethical investment. The Award honours the best piece of analysis done by an investment research institution which integrates traditional financial analysis with longer-term environmental, social and governance issues such as climate change, resource scarcity and human capital.
How are sustainable communities linked to sustainable finance and what can the study of religions give to an MBA student? Our director, Professor Griffith-Dickson, analyses and reflects upon value systems and the processes of value creation in the financial world in this article, published in the Financial Times.
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Prof. Gwen Griffith-Dickson offers a refreshing approach to rethinking the MBA curriculum to incorporate the development of the 'quality of thinking' in itself: to be able to discern, to have the capacity of accurate analysis and reliable decision making.