Sustainability, Faith, and the Market

Lloyd Sandelands, Andrew Hoffman
2008 Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology  
Although sustainability is a growing concern of business today, there has been little progress toward a sustainable future. Th is is because the idea of sustainability in academic and policy debates is too small and too beholden to the assumptions that have created today's environmental and development crises. Consequently, calls for reform have neither the vision nor the authority to sustain the relationships of self, society, and environment that defi ne human life. Reaching beyond our
more » ... g beyond our profession of business management to our Christian faith, we argue for a bigger idea of sustainability that orients these relationships to God. We identify sustainability with four principles of Christian theology-which we label anthropic, relational, ethical, and divine love-and we link economic development with eight principles of Catholic social doctrine-which the Church labels unity and meaning, common good, universal destination, subsidiarity, participation, solidarity, social values, and love. Th is bigger idea of sustainability transforms talk about the future from a gloomy contentiousness rooted in fear to a bright cooperation rooted in hope. Sustainability is an idea whose time has come. It is a cause for culture critics and broadcast journalists, a talking point for politicians, and perhaps most consequentially, an urgent agenda item for big business. Indeed, corporations are printing annual "Sustainability Reports", inserting the term into press releases and CEO speeches, creating new positions such as the Th e authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan.
doi:10.1163/156853508x359949 fatcat:lzejvyoe35hevkw5bu4fqe6yzy