Business Ethics for the Anthropocene

With Knut Ims (Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen) and Antonio Tencati (University of Brescia and Bocconi University Milan) Laszlo Zsolnai gave a presentation on Business Ethics for the Anthropocene in the 9th TransAtlantic Business Ethics Conference in September 28 - October 1 at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The paper argues that the currently unsustainable state of the Earth (rightly called the “Athropocene”) is largely due to business, so reconsidering the role of business in society and nature is unavoidable. Without transforming business into a progressive social institution which respects nature, future generations and the common good of society there will be no chance of creating a Sustainable Earth.

Business ethics has a major role to play in the development of sustainable business organizations. The main areas of analysis and action include  (i) promoting frugal production and consumption models, (ii) accepting the intrinsic value of nature, and (iii) catalyzing the emergence of ecological consciousness in organizations.  Integrating different kinds of knowledge and creating a new epistemology is required for finding the proper role of business in the Anthropocene. Business ethics should use the  latest results of natural, social, and behavioral sciences in parallel with the wisdom traditions of humankind and contemporary arts to capture the interconnectedness of life and human economic activities on Earth.   

St Gallen lecture.pdf