Values-based businesses respect both the individual and the environment. These values are central to the world we will leave to our children and grandchildren. This is one of the greatest challenges: to find new ways that business can support these very human needs, and create an economic model that is not solely concerned with "surface ecology" but is sustainable for our deeper selves and for the whole ecosystem.
Unlike regulation, private codes of management practice do not require public resources to develop and enforce. These codes are created and maintained by industry, and individual firms are responsible for ensuring compliance. Codes address community awareness and emergency response, chemical distribution, pollution prevention, process safety, employee health and safety, and product stewardship.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends adopting and reporting on the implementation of codes of conduct promoting best environmental practice, such as the International Chamber of Commerce's Business Charter on Sustainable Development and the chemical industry's responsible care initiative.
The Keidanren Global Environment Charter (Japan) requires companies work to (1) protect the global environment and improve the local living environment, (2) take care to protect ecosystems and conserve resources, (3) ensure the environmental soundness of products and (4) protect the health and safety of employees and citizens.
Private codes are relatively broad and nonspecific: firms assess their own progress in meeting the requirements of the codes, and those with the strongest environmental programs tend to be the major players in code development.