All cultures have a system of values and rules to protect them. Whenever a group of people has formed, we have seen specific processes or mechanisms to organize the coexistence and use guidelines for the conduct of its members. Ethical guidelines are relevant for communities and their individuals for different reasons:
- They facilitate our coexistence. Standards, values or moral criteria guide us in relationships with other people and justify expectations towards us and our behavior.
- They help to avoid conflicts. If organizations and movements share values and have a common vision, many conflicts are avoided; and when they arise, they can be resolved in a more efficient and peaceful manner.
- Greater efficiency. In organizations and movements in which people share values and respect common rules, fewer resources are spent in the coordination of actions and it is more likely that all ´push in the same direction´.
- Less corruption. Ethical awareness and coherent behavior prevent from an improper use of advantages and generate a behavior of loyalty to the community and the common good.
- Greater personal satisfaction. One of the experiences that undermines most a person's dignity, happiness and motivation is to be treated unfairly or unjust or even suffer violence.
- Greater confidence. If an organization shares values and guidelines, expectations can be built on a defined common ground. Community life becomes easier if its members have some certainty that the common values and rules are respected.
The present document, our code of conduct, developed collaboratively with input from different people that integrate the ECG movement, will be the compass that guides us in all processes that we carry out to fulfill our mission.
Purpose of the Code of Conduct
This document contains our values and principles of cooperation, it is about the attitude we take towards each other, how we communicate and take decisions. This code cannot replace the intrinsic motivation of behaving in a cooperative, empathic, nonviolent and benevolent manner towards all other activists, but it helps to remind us of what we have agreed on orally and what we are committed to. It helps to appreciate our values.
We prepared this code of conduct with the following motivations:
- To invite ourselves to reflect continuously on our commitments. A code of ethics puts ´black on white´ the commitments of the organization. It helps us to walk our talk and reminds us of our values and principles. Reflecting on the commitments of the organization helps to prevent mistakes and to generating disproportionate expectations.
- Increase confidence in the organization and to society. Making a public commitment increases confidence in the movement and its organizations, since those who are related to the movement know what they can expect. When I have no idea nor guidance on how an organization works, the degree of my mistrust is greater. Uncertainty about how you will react in a conflict will be much higher than if you know what is the agreed attitude and procedure. This serves both those who integrate the movement, as we know what we can expect from each other; as well as the society in general which has a clearer information about the movement, its functioning, rules and values.
Values of the ECG movement
We want to remember what is the vision and mission of our Organization before developing the values that defines it.
To promote the Economy of the Common Good in the general public and different interest and pioneer groups (citizens, companies, municipalities, schools and universities) through cooperation, participation, non-violent communication and cultivating our values.
Change the system. Create an Economy for the Common Good. Through internal change, alternative role models, and a deeper, more participatory and direct, a "sovereign" democracy.
Human Dignity (equal value, equal rights)
Democratic Participation and Transparency
These values constitute the core of the culture of the ECG movement, since they are what makes our relationships flourish, and we know from scientific research that to fulfilling relationships are the major source of motivation and happiness for human beings.
Principles of Cooperation
Involvement in the Economy for the Good (ECG) is generally open to all individuals. Each person is an added value to the international movement. At the same time, we engage as consciously as possible for successful relationships and joyful cooperation. In order to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings I pledge to support the spirit of this mutual commitment:
- I live by the values of the ECG as best I can.
- I assume that other activists in the movement are working in the interest of the ECG. I therefore treat others within the movement with a positive and open attitude. I give ECG activists an extra dose of trust.
- At the same time I remain mindful in the interest of the entire movement. If I have the feeling that certain things are developing in a negative direction, then I will express my concerns and attempt to resolve these issues in a constructive debate together with the others who are affected. I will also help to implement a resolution. The vision of the ECG will serve as a guiding light.
- If in the future I want certain things to happen or changes to be made, I will first get involved myself and not just put demands on to others. If for some reason I can't get more involved I will feel free to add my constructive feedback at any time or to float my ideas. I will not take for granted that my recommendations will be adopted.
- I will get involved in the ECG exactly in those areas where I sense a strong inner motivation. I will then try to find out if there are already people working in this area. If there are, then I will first try to hook up with them. If that is not possible, then I will begin working in this area and communicate this to the movement. It is ok if certain things do not get taken care of if no one is willing or able to take on those tasks.
- Commitments are binding. If for some reason I am not able to fulfill my commitments I will let everyone involved know and work with them on a common solution.
- When I take over responsibilities for a certain project or task, I will do my best to complete my work within the agreed time and in a reliable fashion.
- If I have to give up a certain responsibility I will let the others involved know in a time frame which allows them to find a fitting successor. I will also help look for this person. I will also actively help to ensure a successful transition by passing on all relevant information, documents, access codes, etc. I will also help make sure that I am no longer listed as coordinator in the internet.
- Before taking on a new responsibility I will make sure that it is clearly defined. If a misunderstanding should later arise I will make sure a new task description is created.
- If I notice a lack of support among the others involved I will step back from the position.
- I will check the ECG webpage about existing channels of communication and decisionmaking rules before I communicate something relevant or before I make a decision about my commitment.
How do we communicate?
- I deal with all other activists with appreciation, respect and eye to eye. I do my best to be open and honest, create transparency and, as a result, trust.
- I realize that I am also responsible for helping create successful communication.
- I express my opinion and at the same time I accept the opinion of others. If I do not understand the perspective of another person, I will ask for more information and help create understanding. If I notice that people have differing interpretations of central terms, I will help to create mutual understanding.
- Successful communication is very important to me and I will help achieve that. For example by simply saying "thank you" or by using the methods of non-violent communication.
- I prefer face-to-face conversations and meetings. If this is not possible, I prefer telephone or online calls over written communication. Emails usually just serve to exchange information. As soon as things get emotional I will reach out for more personal forms of communication.
- During discussions I will consider how I can contribute in a constructive fashion to help reach a good result. Sometimes silence is better than feeling I have to add something that has, perhaps, already been said.
I assume others are acting with positive intentions. If something bothers me about another person, I will speak with them personally. It is also ok in such situations to show my emotions. I will, however, do my best not to humiliate them. I will, rather, wait for the appropriate moment to approach them. If this is not possible I will talk to the group moderators or coordinators.
- I am well aware that the way I communicate publicly about the ECG can affect the movement as a whole. In regard to negative aspects of the ECG I will be particularly careful.
How and what do I decide?
- For the most part I act independently. As much as possible things are decided in small groups of people affected by the issues at hand.
- The freedom of one ends where the freedom of another begins. No one has the right, without a mandate, to make decisions over the others involved. That is applicable to individuals as well as hubs and local chapters.
- If I am sure that a plan I need to decide about affects no other activists, then I will make the decision by myself.
- If, on the other hand, my plan directly affects other activists, then I will inform them about it and we will decide together how to proceed. This can be the case within a local chapter, a hub or at the delegate's assembly.
- An exception to this is when a person or group has been mandated the authority to make decisions that can affect other persons or groups. An example are the authorities granted the International Coordination Team (ICT).
- I will also try to act from the bottom-up. If I have a proposal for the entire movement, I will first present it to my local chapter or my hub. If they support my proposal I will then present it to the entire movement.
- If I then want to put this proposal into action, I will look for any relevant guidelines and for the coordinators on the website ecogood.org or wiki.ecogood.org.
- For the most part, mandated groups can make decisions autonomously within their area of responsibility. If more than one group is affected then they decide together. If the entire movement is effected then the Delegate's Assembly decides. If in doubt I will ask within my group.
How do we take decisions?
- In the ECG movement decisions are made democratically.
- We recommend first trying consensus decision-making, then consent, then systemic consensus.
This version of the Code of Conduct was approved by the ECG Delegates Assembly 2016