Tikkun Olam: How Companies Can Repair the World

by Mark Polet

My good friend, Eric, and I recently walked a portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain together with another of our friends. We were walking through the rolling plains near León, where we could see the pastures and fields for kilometres in every direction, bracketed on three sides by the coastal mountains, the Pyrénées and the hills of Galicia. God’s creation lay before us like an open book. Perhaps inspired by such a scene, Eric told me about the Hebrew concept of Tikkun Olam, ‘Repair the World’.

Repair the World

Romans 8 is pretty clear that the liberation and restoration of creation is integrated with our redemption. We in the impact business space have the profound privilege of repairing the world economically, spiritually, socially and environmentally, carrying out the commandment of ‘Working in the Garden,’ (Gen 2:15).

Let’s focus on how we as Impact Business leaders can ‘Repair the World’ from an environmental perspective. In 41 years of service, I have had the privilege helping companies from over 21 different industry types fulfil their environmental obligations, and in some cases, show environmental excellence. 

An Environmental Company?

You see, every company is an environmental company. Creation is ours to steward. To show how we might steward appropriately, let us first talk about what happens when we do not steward the earth well by looking at Jesus’ words on Salt (Matt 5:13). Our actions are to be salt and light. That salt (our actions) can strengthen the body and keep it healthy. But if our actions ‘lose their flavour’, the salt is thrown out and trampled underfoot. If that salt leaves the path where it still can control dust and stop ice from forming, and gets into the fields, it kills, making it difficult for plants to grow. The fields become a desert.

Every company is an environmental company. Creation is ours to steward.

In other words, if your impact business is not being ‘salty’ through proper stewardship, you run the risk of poisoning the planet. In ancient times, invading armies would salt the fields deliberately, making their enemy’s fields sterile. Throwing out salt in this case was an act of violence. The equivalent today would be for us to deliberately pollute.

How do we as BAM company leaders seek to avoid doing harm to the environment through our daily business operations? Are there choices we can make to become a company that cares more for creation?

Creation Care Pilgrims

In my work in the Impact Business and BAM spaces, I have not come across deliberate environmental mismanagement, but I do see actions that cause harm out of ignorance or neglect. Mostly, I see people that are overwhelmed with the challenge of running a business not knowing where to turn to seek advice.

Pilgrims along the Camino find sign posts along the path. Yellow arrows, scallop symbols and cairns mark the way one needs to walk. The BAM Global Creation Care Consultation was created to provide sign posts so that your impact business can walk the path of creation care. We hope to provide tools in lifecycle analyses, supply chain integration, risk management, environmental discipline, and explore business opportunities in the environmental space. We hope to also provide metrics so you can measure your environmental performance. You will not walk the path to environmental excellence alone.

God has promised the restoration of all creation. You can help. Tikkun Olam.


>> Read next post: What If? Business Solutions to Environmental Problems


>> Read excerpt from: Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation

Join us on The BAM Review this month as we highlight the topic of BAM and Creation Care. This blog series is linked to a new BAM Global Creation Care Consultation which will present its findings at the BAM Global Congress in 2020.


mark polet july 2018 031Mark Polet is a professional biologist with over 40 years of experience. Working on four continents, Mark and his wife Terri bridge cultures and traditions with people of good will to serve those who are spiritually and materially impoverished. Mark is passionate about bringing engineers, scientists, and business together to develop solutions to challenging environmental issues. Mark has the privilege to coordinate the BAM Global Creation Care Consultation. Prior to working in the impact business space, Mark & Terri owned a number of companies, including an environmental services company and an environmental consultancy.



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Profile photo by Lucie Leduc