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“Ethics, Ecology and the Limits of Business” Course in Bergen

The Business Ethics Inter-faculty Group of the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) held a one-week seminar entitled “Ethics, Ecology and the Limits of Business” on September 2–8, 2002 in NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen,

Faculty members included Laszlo Zsolnai and Zsolt Boda (Business Ethics Center, Budapest, Knut Ims (NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen), Aloy Soppe (Erasmus University Rotterdam), and Ove Jacobsen (Bodo Graduate School of Business, Bodo. Twenty students representing eight European countries participated in the course.

The main function of the seminar was to explore the possibility of using the Deep Ecology perspective, developed by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, and Buddhist Economics, represented by British economist E.F. Schumacher, for transforming business into a more ecological and human form.

Topics of the seminar included the following: “Business as Existential Enterprise,” which emphasized the existential meaning and relevance of business decisions and policies; “Sustainable Development and the Governance of Global Commons,” which investigated the limits of the dominant model of sustainable development, and global environmental governance, where market forces and business incentives are given pre-dominance over other considerations; and “Ethical Banking,” which concentrated on current ethical approaches to banking such as sustainable banking, Islamic banking and credit unions.