The launch of Unashamedly Ethical (UE) in Port Elizabeth at the weekend was an unprecedented success said Steve Johnstone, international co-ordinator of the UE movement which promotes ethics, values and clean living around the world.
He said that key Nelson Mandela Bay business leaders who attended a UE briefing breakfast arranged by Transformation Christian Network on Saturday had spontaneously bought into the vision of establishing a community in which organisations and individuals would fight corruption and greed by committing themselves to signing and upholding the UE pledge.
The leaders, who all represented significant business constituencies, proposed to introduce the initiative to the Mayor, local government and business networks, he said in an interview yesterday.
UE was founded by South African businessman Graham Power in 2009 and has been adopted in various parts of the world. This year UE received invitations to launch the movement in the USA, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kenya and Nigeria.
Preaching at a public launch of the initiative at St Nicholas Anglican Church, Johnstone explained that UE required subscribers to sign a form in which they committed to following 10 ethical lifestyle pledges, to joining a global directory of signatories and to becoming accountable to a UE ombudsman.
He said that while the 10 pledges were based on the 10 Commandments and other biblical injunctions, they were not framed in religious language. The neutral language had made it possible to successfully present Unashamedly Ethical at many secular forums and in different cultures. Recently the 10 pledges were published on the front page of a national newspaper in Malaysgia, a Muslim country.
Johnstone said UE encouraged signatories to do business with signatories on its global directory, thereby creating a demand for ethical services. The ombudsman served to hold signatories accountable to their pledges and the UE code of conduct. In accordance with a passage in 1 Corinthains 6 urging believers not to take disputes among themselves to secular courts, the ombudsman resolved disputes between signatories.
Referring to I Peter 1 and 2, Johnstone said that unbelievers closely watched the behaviour of Christians and that the clean and ethical lives of Christians prepared unbelievers to receive Jesus Christ. He said that the workplace was the major mission field of the world and that Christians at work were the “mission force” of the church.