Can corporations and economic powers just DECIDE to act more ethically towards citizens and the environment? How effective might a social covenant be?

The New Social Covenant ( was developed at the World Economic Forum in Davos. There are at least 36 entities that have signed on.  Covenanters agree to act in the interest of three universal aspirations: (1) the dignity of the person; (2) the importance of the common good that transcends individual interest; and (3) the need for long-term stewardship of the planet. Those involved in its development believe that the strong interest in the New Social Covenant arises because many leaders in all walks of life want to not only do the right thing for their business, organization, or country but — critically — they want to do what is right, morally.

Covenanters are people who:

  1. Agree to do their best in their own walk of life–including their companies, organizations, or public institutions-to implement the three core values of the New Social Covenant (promoting the dignity of the individual, striving explicitly for the common good, and actively practicing values-based stewardship). Ways in which Covenanters could do this could include taking one or more of the following action steps:
  • Commit to discussing the New Social Covenant or its principles with their professional colleagues, asking them to sign on
  • Find one manageable but clear area of tension that the New Social Covenant identifies and set a goal to change their or their organisations’ actions or behaviours to align with their new commitment
  • Introduce the New Social Covenant into one specific arena or product in their sphere of influence such as a business school curriculum, a professional association board/shareholders meeting, a major speech they are giving, interviews with media, etc.
  1. Agree to give feedback on their experience — what they have learned and what barriers they have faced; and
  2. Agree to have their name added to the roster of Covenanters on a specially designed New Social Covenant website.