Is social work really greening? Exploring the place of sustainability in social work codes of ethics

Wendy Bowles, Heather Boetto, Peter Jones, Jennifer McKinnon

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only

Abstract

Issues of sustainability and the natural environment have recently emerged in social work. As these issues become core concerns for the profession, there is an expectation that they will also begin to appear in codes of ethics: the place where the purpose and scope of the profession is articulated. This paper examines the extent to which issues of the natural environment and sustainability are represented in three national codes - United Kingdom, United States and Australia.
  Using International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) documents as a benchmark, we compare the three codes and draw conclusions about the degree to which issues of sustainability are emerging as priorities. The most striking finding is that despite the scale and nature of the global environmental crisis and its impact on human well-being, and despite the increasing calls for social work to engage in this area, the natural environment as a core concern for the social work profession remains relatively poorly recognised in codes of ethics.
We recommend that national professional associations address this issue as a matter of urgency. We also argue that because the IFSW definition of social work has been influential in guiding the development of these codes, and because climate change is a global crisis, the IFSW has a key leadership role in advocating for sustainability to become a core concern for ethical practice, in addition to its role leading the international social work response to climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2014
Event2014 Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 09 Jul 201412 Jul 2014
https://web.archive.org/web/20140408044911/http://www.swsd2014.org:80/call-for-abstracts/ (Conference call for abstracts)

Conference

Conference2014 Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development
Abbreviated titlePromoting Social and Economic Equality: Responses from Social Work and Social Development
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period09/07/1412/07/14
OtherWherever you work – in practice, policy, research, education or social development – we are keen to ensure that your interests are responded to in the development of our Conference Program. The theme is ‘Promoting Social and Economic Equality: Responses from Social Work and Social Development’. Our focus is on the intersection of the many factors that promote equality for all people within our diverse contexts around the world.

This Conference will provide opportunities for you to talk with colleagues about your interests in health, disability, mental health, child and family welfare, gender, human rights, migration and refugees and other current issues. Given the Australian context, we encourage a focus on Indigenous voices from around the world, as well as consumer voices, throughout the entire Conference Program. We will come together to share achievements and ideas from clinical and statutory practitioners, from researchers and educators, and from policy makers. We are keen to ensure that the broad interests of participants are clearly accommodated in the Conference sessions.
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    Bowles, W., Boetto, H., Jones, P., & McKinnon, J. (2014). Is social work really greening? Exploring the place of sustainability in social work codes of ethics. Paper presented at 2014 Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development, Melbourne, Australia.