Diocese releases new business ethics guide

business ethics

The Catholic Diocese of Auckland’s new business ethics guide reflects what the diocese is about, says the diocese’s general manager Mr James van Schie (pictured).

Van Schie told NZ Catholic the guide limits the diocese’s business transactions to companies and organisations that share its “commitment to good ethical standards and social responsibility”.

We are trying to avoid participating in products or services that are inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church or promote or support products or practices that are harmful or destructive, van Schie told CathNews in a statement.

“Good commercial partnerships are built on clear expectations and a good understanding of what outcomes we are trying to achieve,” he says.

“Ultimately, the diocese is not here to simply ‘transact’ in ‘services’, and all our work should be directed to our mission to live and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Van Schie says that, as a charity, the diocese has a focus on value, but value does not necessarily mean cheap. The diocese values quality.

“If we cut corners on quality our successors will just end up paying for it”, he told CathNews.

In terms of buildings, van Schie says while the diocese would like to build to the ‘6 green star’ level, there is a tension between finite funding and quality.

NZ Catholic reports the new business ethics policy says the diocese’s business partners should be comfortable associating their name and brand with the Catholic Church and the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.

The publication says the diocese has confirmed several of its long-established business partners and associates are already practising the ethical values the diocese expects.

“For new suppliers and partners, we can now begin to integrate this guide into procurement documents, he says.

Van Schie clarified the diocese does not consider itself a ‘superior judge’ to business partners and any relationship the diocese has with its ‘supplier – partners’ is one backed on mutual accountability.

“I expect our business partners to hold us to account on ethical decision making”, van Schie told Cath News.

Asked about specific values the diocese has included in the policy, van Schie they come from Catholic Social teaching.

“Catholic teaching is widely recognised as having something truly worthwhile and unique to offer our times. New York Times columnist David Brooks (not a Catholic) said that Catholic social teaching is ‘the most coherent philosophy that opposes a philosophy of rampant individualism'”.

van Schie said he thought that each New Zealand diocese and religious order should be working to develop what the full depth and breadth of Catholic teaching looks like in their business operations.

While the diocese says the business ethics policy means it will only work with businesses with values in line with its own, the only specific ethic mentioned is a commitment to work against modern slavery in all its forms.

Interested in other concrete examples, CathNews sought a copy of the policy.

The policy is also not publicly available on the diocese’s website.


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