Code Red for Humanity: The Role of Business Ethics as We Transgress Planetary Thresholds
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The urgency of the ecological crisis, described as a ‘code red for humanity’, is also a call to the business ethics community to work even harder for a safe space for humanity. This commentary suggests two specific domains of engagement, with the aim of having more impact in mitigating the ecological crisis: (1) the empirical fact of non-negotiable biophysical thresholds to convey the status and severity of the crisis, and (2) the need for strong laws and regulations—and compliance with these—to guide the aggregated economic activity away from further transgressing biophysical thresholds. Traditionally, business ethics focusses on why and how business can contribute beyond compliance with laws and regulations. By engaging more explicitly with the other two domains, our business ethics community can contribute to distinguish between which are value discussions and which are not, and to the necessity and legitimacy of laws and regulations. This text is a proposal on how we can use business ethics, hence the form of a commentary.