Below is a transcript of a speech delivered by Australian Ethical Managing Director Phil Vernon at the Opening Night of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.
Australian Ethical has been a proud sponsor of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival for over five years, and we have huge admiration for its work in raising awareness and being a focus for the discussion of human rights and social justice issues.
The recognition, development, and the codification of human rights has come such a long way over the past centuries, and yet we still see so much poverty, oppression, and social injustice.
As we head further into the 21st century we have particular challenges in protecting and enforcing basic human rights.
The world has evolved and continues to evolve in a way that it was never designed for. The dominant forces of influence in the world today are the corporate and investment sectors, sectors driven by mechanisms of self-interest. The sheer weight of global capital far outweighs the size of many nation states weakening democratic principles. And, as we all know, the concepts of democracy and human rights are inextricably linked.
So, what do we do?
Firstly, money itself is not the problem. Money and free flowing markets have done, and continue to do, good in the world, raising living standards, and alleviating poverty. And the issue is not going away. Global capital will continue to be the dominant force on the planet.
What we need to do is to civilise it and inject it with a soul.
We need to ensure that it recognises its important stewardship role in preserving and protecting the future of the planet and the societies which occupy it. We need to ensure that it behaves ethically and responsibly.
A new model for business and investment is needed that embraces capital as a force for good in the world and embeds ethics intrinsically into its daily behaviors.
At Australian Ethical, this is our Mission.
We operate according to following principles:
Principle 1: We want a world in which every decision is made with empathy and compassion for the planet and all those that inhabit it.
"We want a world in which every decision is made with empathy and compassion for the planet and all those that inhabit it."