Indian philanthropists and spiritual leaders address ethics summit in S Africa

Johannesburg, May 19 (PTI) Several globally-recognised Indian-origin philanthropists and spiritual leaders addressed the Conscious Leadership and Ethics Summit here, delving deep into the relation between businesses, consciousness, leadership and the environment.

The summit hosted in Johannesburg on Wednesday was the brainchild of Indian-origin South African author and entrepreneur Brenda Kali, who initiated the Conscious Companies Awards a few years ago to commend corporate leaders showcasing ethical principles.

She developed the idea while spending time at an ‘ashram’ in India. “In an ideal world, there would be no need for a Conscious Leadership and Ethics Summit. However, we do not live in an ideal world,” Kali told over 100 captains of trade and industry who were attending, as well as many more joining virtually from across the globe.

“Against the backdrop of the staggering global headlines of chaos, crisis, war, confused anxieties and the pandemic, the world’s leadership is looking rather bleak at the moment.

“Where the true character of leadership around the globe is being tested and exposed, the summit is also about widening the scope and understanding of consciousness,” Kali explained.

Yoga guru Sadhguru said business did not operate in isolation and could play a role in saving the planet for future generations.

“It’s very important that a conscious leadership arises in the world at this juncture, because we are at a time right now, where if we act right now, we can turn the planet around. We can restore this planet to a reasonable sense of well-being for future generations if we act now,” Sadhguru said.

Soil conservation was critical to achieve this, according to Sadhguru, who is the founder of Isha Foundation.

“Unfortunately, the soil degradation in the world is a global phenomenon. At the same time, particularly in Africa, the UN says that 65 per cent of Africa’s land will be degraded in the coming decade. This is a serious concern. No matter what businesses we are building, it is important that we protect the soil as the foundation for future generations,” Sadhguru advised the delegates.

“Please use your competence, capability and connections and ensure we as a generation become that generation which turned back from the brink of a disaster, rather than a generation which slept through this. This is a very dire situation,“ he said. Founder of non-profit health programme, Ekam, Preetanji blamed competition and greed for the ills of the world.

“No matter what progress we make, it is the same consciousness that is manipulated that is destroying the progress we are actually creating,” she said, using the example of the race to reach Mars and talking about acquiring real estate on Mars even before any human got there.

Humanitarian Mohanji, whose foundation operates in over 90 countries, called on the business leaders not to just provide free food, shelter and clothing to those in need.

“Freebies are not a good idea. Some people may become complacent because food is coming, so (feel) that they should not have to do anything. They should be empowered so that they can become self-sufficient,” Mohanji said as he shared how his Foundation has planted 80,000 fruit trees across the globe so far.

Kali said her ultimate goal was to make consciousness a fundamental aspect of the corporate framework.

“So much so, that companies should seriously ensure having conscious, ethical leadership at its helm and that it would eventually become a requirement for most companies.

“The ultimate would be to originate a Conscious Company Certification globally, born right here in South Africa, which provides very fertile soil with all our unconscious leaders,” Kali said, in veiled reference to the rampant corruption that has been unveiled among South African political and business leaders through a Commission of Inquiry into State Capture over the past three years. PTI FH IND AKJ IND

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