Last week, I was walking around a harbor in another state, lamenting the stench from the trash which floated around the fishing and pleasure boats at dock. My mind wandered to other continents, as I thought about the exposed oil ponds and leaking gas from pipes I saw at a children’s playground in Baku in Azerbaijan. I thought about the day I stood on a bridge over the Drina River in SE Bosnia, lamenting what I saw floating down to the sea in this amazingly beautiful part of God’s creation.
But before we are too judgmental on others, what about our own businesses? Businesses which create wealth, provide jobs, and even make disciples; but perhaps minimize the care of God’s creation. The 2017 BAM Global paper1 speaks to this issue stating, “Each business run by wealth creators has a specialty, a God-gift, and points of excellence that can be applied to a pressing environmental issue. A transportation company can work on innovative fuel efficiency and improve transportation of needed medicines. A restaurant can source its food stocks with care and reduce food waste by supporting the food bank with excess, then composting the rest. An office can install passive cooling, energy efficient lighting and provide incentives to reduce commuting or increase the use of less polluting transport for their employees. Companies have the advantage of scale and resources to do much good quickly. Environmental discipline is financial discipline (conservation of resources), social discipline (respect of local communities and the resources under their stewardship), and spiritual discipline (obeying God’s commandment to steward the earth)” (page 12-13.)
It is so easy to blame the big corporations, or think Chernobyl or Erin Brockovich, but all of us in small business can care for creation by using a little extra effort to recycle, compost appropriately, reduce energy use, care for land in our possession, reduce air pollution. The BAM Global report continues, “Along with the spiritual, financial, and social bottom line, the environmental bottom line is an integral measure of a God-centered successful business. The work of wealth creators includes sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus, improving the financial wellbeing of society and the staff within their companies, providing the dignity of work and the stability that ensues from meaningful long term employment, developing a society where we love each other as we love ourselves, and providing the clean energy, water, air and land on which we live. The wealth creator acknowledges this inextricably linked web of relationship with Christ, society and creation1.”
The BAM Global congress in April 2020 will continue to push forward productive thinking and policies which support this “bottom line” of the BAM movement. Leaders Mats Tunehag and Mark Polet are interested in your thoughts, and Mark suggests, “As part of the BAM Global Creation Care Consultation, we have developed a survey to poll the BAM community on the status of environmental stewardship and to assess their needs”. Would you take a few minutes to provide your input? To do so, simply click here.
1 WEALTH CREATION AND THE STEWARDSHIP OF CREATION A paper from the Global Consultation on Wealth Creation for Transformation organized by the Lausanne Movement and BAM Global in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in March 2017. ©Lausanne Movement & BAM Global
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures