By Mats Tunehag
How can we connect Sunday and Monday? How can our faith inform our actions in the marketplace? What are key building blocks in economics and business as we pursue a society built on justice and mercy?
These were key issues addressed by 175 people from 26 nations gathered at the European Economic Summit, EES, in Amsterdam in September 2014. Important observations and suggestions emerged through the pre-consultations, keynote addresses, small group discussions and prayer. These findings were summarized in the EES Declaration. Albeit a particular focus is on Europe, the lessons learned are valid and can be very valuable for other contexts as well.
The Declaration affirms:
That economic transformation requires a multidisciplinary, holistic approach. Economics and finance do not exist in a vacuum and any effective approach must include: business to stimulate the creation of sustainable, profitable businesses which create shared value for all stakeholders and positive holistic change along the multiple bottom-lines of economics, communities including families, environment, government and spiritual renewal.
The Declaration then calls upon the Church (in Europe) to:
Affirm, equip and deploy business people to service in the marketplace, to find business solutions to some of Europe’s, and the world’s, most pressing problems. Engage in their communities to help people economically, in the areas of over-indebtedness and unemployment.
It goes on to address entrepreneurs and urges them:
To redesign their businesses to build permanent value across the full spectrum of capital – financial, physical, human, natural, spiritual and social. To consider how their relationship, skills, experiences and other resources can be applied and deployed in their communities, and in developing nations, by providing training in business, by becoming mentors, by exploring investment opportunities and by pro-actively working with NGO’s and business groups which have a similar focus and holistic ethos. Commit to conducting their businesses with integrity, transparency, professionalism and excellence.
This is a clear and necessary call to affirm the role of business in society and equip business people to work for the common good and to be missional thinkers in the marketplace.
BAM Global Think Tank is a partner organization of the European Economic Summit.
Mats Tunehag serves on the European Economic Summit Steering Committee and is the Senior Associate on Business as Mission for both the Lausanne Movement and World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission. He is the co-editor of the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission and currently the co-chair of BAM Global. He also serves with a global investment fund based on Christian values that helps SMEs to grow in size, profitability and holistic impact in the Arab world and Asia. Visit MatsTunehag.com for more resources from Mats.
Watch Mats Tunehag’s presentation at an EES pre-consultation: Business, Human Dignity and Transformation