Values Underlying Commitment and Consistency

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


Wendi Momen
United Kingdom

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



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 Underlying

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
• Philosophers
• Humanists
• Our own experience

What Does Not Work

• Throwing money at problems
• Extreme wealth
• Materialism

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

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Last updated 23 May 2006