INES2000 Conference, Stockholm, 14-18 June, 2000
SCIENCE, ENGINEERING - AND ETHICS - FOR A FINITE WORLD
The Code of Ethics of the
Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand
Department of Chemical & Process Engineering, University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800, Otautahi / Christchurch, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Email: < > Web: < www.cape.canterbury.ac.nz/people/njp/njp.htm >
The Code of Ethics of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) links
professional engineering activity to its environmental, social and economic outcomes, via the
Members shall use the planet's resources in a sustainable manner and minimise any
adverse environmental impact of their engineering works or applications of technology for
both present and future generations, while at the same time giving due consideration to
the social and economic benefits associated with the work.
In practice, due to the inevitable complexity of most such interactions, it is often difficult to
determine whether a system on which the engineer may be working is in a viable, sustainable
relationship, with other systems and with the total natural environment within which it exists.
This paper examines aspects of the problem that arises as a result of the systemic
incompatibility of the viewpoints of the two main paradigms from which such situations are
commonly addressed: the political-economic and the biophysical. Solutions exist within an
Ecological Economics perspective that acknowledges both the emergent complexity of such
situations and the need for a normative goal such as sustainability or sustainable living.
Options can be clarified via an agreed social ethic by which the goal is to be achieved.
Full paper (pdf)