Values Underlying Commitment and Consistency

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 30. May 2011 - 17:55
Momen, Wendi

Paper presented at the plenary IEF Symposium
Consumer Citizenship Network, Third CCN International Conference
Hedmark University College, Hamar, Norway, 15-16 May 2006


Wendi Momen
United Kingdom



Motivation is driven more by the heart than the head. Any lasting commitment to sustainable lifestyles must be driven by an individual's values and world view. The sources of values include the world's religions, philosophers and humanists, and they are transmitted first in the family, then in the schools and other institutions of society. Values such as justice, solidarity, service and moderation from all these sources can help to drive responsible consumer citizenship. A sense of world citizenship also contributes to more sustainable behaviour.

Values and Behaviour

Consumer behaviour is influenced - perhaps even driven - by an individual's basic values and world view.
All human actions and human societies are built on values
If behaviour is inappropriate, changing the basic values and world view is important to motivate constructive changes in consumption.
People are unlikely to change inappropriate behaviours unless their values and world view change.

Attempts to Identify Common Values

Generally unsuccessful
Focused on human rights abuses
Considered by non-western cultures as western values only
Generally centred on behaviours rather than principles
Ore useful to focus on underlying principles

Sources of Values

World’s religions
Our own experience

What Does Not Work

Throwing money at problems
Extreme wealth

What Does Work

A shift to more ‘spiritual’ values
Individuals knowing their true identity and operating according to its dictates
Society reorienting itself to its own reality

Useful ‘Spiritual’ Values

A cluster of practical virtues and values born out of a vision and understanding of the purpose for humanity that underpins our relationships with each other at every level - personal, family, community, national and global.

Justice, trustworthiness, honesty, courtesy, patience, love, selflessness, etc.

Spiritual principles are in use all the time - we just rarely identify them as such.

Moving towards Sustainable Consumer Behaviour
understanding of the essentially spiritual nature of the human being
a recognition of the inter-penetration between the physical and the spiritual
development of a new work ethic
stewardship of the earth’s resources
ethical practices in government and business
a consciousness of the concept of unity in diversity
new forms of governance need to be developed
fostering the advancement of women
the development of the spirit of service and voluntarism
the extension of virtues-based education
the development of conflict avoidance and resolution through consultation
the promotion of the family as the basic unit of the community
purposeful living


Living Values
Individuals endeavouring to change behaviours need to be supported by enabling legal and political environments
We are no longer powerless as human beings to shape our future

Last updated 23 May 2006