Businesses Can Learn About Achieving Sustainable Finance From Age-old Wisdom 

The realm of commerce has the propensity to place a premium on concepts such as the maximization of profits, economies of scale, and the significance of shareholder value. Over several centuries, the industry has evolved, and as a result, these ideas are now deeply ingrained in the financial systems of the world.

However, there are companies in certain regions of the world that function on the principle of respect for all living organisms, not just humans. This is especially prevalent in nations that adhere to dharmic religions like Jainism and Hinduism (mainly across the Indian subcontinent, southeast, and central Asia). Acquiring knowledge of such methods of operation could assist the world of global commerce in becoming more environmentally friendly and in combating the climate crisis.

According to the findings of recent research, nature has been regarded for a very long time as a resource or as something that is “outside” of the economic system and that exists for the advantage of humans. However, the reality that the rate of extinctions as a consequence of human activity is at least 1,000 times higher than the rate that occurs naturally demonstrates how interdependent humans and nature are. The impacts of business on our environment are also readily apparent, as evidenced by the fact that only one hundred multinational corporations are responsible for 71% of the planet’s fossil fuel emissions.

Changing economic principles and belief systems so that they acknowledge the consciousness of all life on the planet and the necessity of protecting other living beings is necessary if this attitude toward nature is going to be addressed in a significant portion of the business world. To fulfill the environmental challenges that the world is facing right now would necessitate a significant transformation in both cultural norms and individual behaviors.

However, professionals in economics and finance frequently exclude this problem from their calculations, which contributes to the deterioration of social and ecological systems. Even though the growing global movement toward green finance is unquestionably a step in the right direction, even more, significant changes in economic models are needed to tackle the environmental catastrophe and make all businesses more sustainable.

Motives Derived From Various Religions

My research demonstrates how the world of finance could learn from certain ancient religious practices to foster cultural and behavioral shifts of this kind. Several worldviews do not view humanity as distinct from nature and instead advocate for the protection of the natural world. Businesses can be successful while adhering to such doctrines.

For instance, dharma is commonly understood to refer to virtuous behavior and describes a way to live an environmentally responsible life. There has never been a distinction made between man and animals and the natural world in any of India’s dharmic religions, which include Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. These worldviews have never had an emphasis on human beings (regarding humans as an integral part of life on earth). Their customs have a history that stretches back many thousands of years and were developed long before the human race was confronted with the same existential challenges that we are now.

What makes these ancient religions even more prophetic, particularly for the world of business and finance, is the fact that their sustainability initiatives are hidden from plain sight. The leaders of this company already sustainably conduct their business for no other reason than the fact that they have always considered this to be the proper way to conduct business. The leaders’ decisions are influenced by culture, belief, and tradition.

For thousands of years, for instance, Jains have held the belief that all living beings, including plants and animals, are worthy of respect. Ahimsa, the core philosophy of Jainism, which is among the world’s oldest religions, is founded on non-violence in thought, word, and action.

During my research, I had the opportunity to speak with several influential Jain business leaders who subscribe to this school of thought. These individuals include Vallabh Bhansali, who serves as the co-founder of the Indian investment firm Enam Securities Group, and Abhay Firodia, who serves as the head of the Indian automaker Force Motors and whose father created Asia’s most popular affordable mode of transportation, the auto-rickshaw.

Philanthropy is regarded as “a duty, not a choice” by a significant number of Jains, as well as adherents of other dharmic faiths such as Sikhs and Hindus. They want to practice an empathetic kind of capitalism by working within the parameters of the nature of currency and its limitations.

However, this perspective is not unique to religions that adhere to dharma. According to research, before the European colonization of Africa, many different parts of the continent utilized robust social and communitarian networks of collective ownership.


And finally, the bank from Sweden In 1871, Handelsbanken was founded to conduct business organically by cultivating relationships based on trust that is regional and long-lasting. It offers essential funding to smaller companies, which are often overlooked for larger loans by high-street banks.

In Addition to Finances

The world of finance has frequently been a malignant influence on communities, societies, and even nature. Instead of encouraging cooperation and creating income equality, it fosters individualism and can lead to inequality.

By looking at these other, more ancient traditions, we may be able to dispel the widespread misapprehension regarding the significance of the many forms of wealth that extend beyond monetary wealth, such as culture, relationships, trust, leadership, spiritual growth, and social capital, in the construction of contented and harmonious societies. Acquiring knowledge about these various other forms of capital may help revive and elevate their significance in the world of business.

Although faith played a significant role in economics for thousands of years – so much so that the City of London had 104 churches well before world wars – it is frequently disregarded in the research and teaching of modern financial management. More industry leaders will be able to learn how to run their businesses with a sense of morality, fulfillment, and commitment if business education is made to be much more encompassing of various cultures and ways of thinking.

The realm of commerce has the propensity to place a premium on concepts such as the maximization of profits, economies of scale, and the significance of shareholder value. Over several centuries, the industry has evolved, and as a result, these ideas are now deeply ingrained in the financial systems of the world. However, there are…