How do you know whether a product has been produced with child labour, high greenhouse gas emission, violations of workers rights etc.? Mostly through guesswork. In some cases and aspects, labels and certificates give some guidance. But there doesn't seem to be a comprehensive framework.
In order to harness the power of the market for a truly sustainable development, I believe that we need such a comprehensive framework. And in my opinion it needs to include the highest standards in environmental issues and the latest knowledge concerning our impact on Mother Earth, as well as a strong focus on the basic human needs - meeting everybody's political, social and economic human rights. If we could get the information on each product's contribution to these areas: meeting basic human needs, respecting human rights (and national laws) and its environmental performance, it would be very easy to take the decision for a product that is better for the Earth and better for Humanity, every time one gets a choice. And it can be the basis for devising laws that give preferential treatment to "better" products.
I am currently looking into how to build such an indicator. If you are interested or have some thoughts or contacts, please get in touch!
- Alice Tepper Marlin (USA) received the Right Livelihood Award in 1990 ”...for showing the direction in which the Western economy must develop to promote the well-being of humanity.” Now, 19 years later, it's time to take a look at her recent work and achievements. In 1997, Alice Tepper Marlin established Social Accountability International (SAI). SAI is a global standards-setting organization, dedicated to the ethical treatment of workers around the world.
- Social Footprint Indicator
- Manfred Max-Neef
- Dennis Pamlin
- Blauer Engel
- Realizing Rights initiative by Mary Robinson