THE CENTER
FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND LAW

Advancing principles of environmental ethics in law and life.

The Biosphere Ethics Initiative

A soft law program that advances principles of environmental ethics in law and policy at the local, regional, and global level.
CEEL leads the advancement of the Biosphere Ethics Initiative (BEI), an international soft law program of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL). The WCEL is a membership-driven organization under the auspices of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world's oldest and largest environmental organization. Soft law is a type of law that is often advanced from the bottom up, created by citizens and sectors from across the world, and meant to influence, in whole or in part, the guiding policies of organizations and the hard, enforceable law (legislative, constitutional, and case-law) of governments.

Through the BEI's networks of law associations, universities, museums, governments, and non-governmental organizations, it seeks to advance ethical principles of biodiversity conservation. This includes human rights and humanitarian law, social and environmental justice, climate change justice, principles of human health and the environment, and an economy based within and upon natural limits. The BEI also advances ethical principles of international law, such as protecting the common heritage of mankind, principles of trusteeship and stewardship, the precautionary principle, the principle of non-regression, and the duty not to harm.

The main document of the BEI is the global Evolving Biosphere Ethic. This document is reviewed and updated following Relatos and meetings of the BEI. Scholarly research also informs the document. It includes the BEI's foundational worldview, foundational aims, foundational principles, as well as Questions to help guide Ethical Inquiry.

Other key documents of the BEI include local ethics, which are created by local communities with the assistance of the BEI network; meeting reports; and scholarly papers.

Building global solidarity for the future of life.