Over time, BEN has developed and followed several principles. Among these are:
- RB-NRB cooperation
- Financial self-reliance
- Non-hierarchical organizational structure
- Consensus decision making
- Non-partisan character
RB-NRB cooperation: Cooperation among Resident Bangladeshi (RB) and Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRB) is the main guiding principle of BEN. BEN decided from the very beginning to work inside Bangladesh in partnership with like-minded pro-environment organizations and individuals living inside Bangladesh, i.e., resident Bangladeshis (RB). It is from this realization that BEN took the initiative to convene ICBEN that led to the formation of BAPA in 2000. Since then BEN has been working in close collaboration with BAPA. The RB-NRB cooperation, as materialized through BAPA-BEN cooperation, has become a model that is now being emulated in other spheres of nation building activities.
Financial self-reliance: BEN believes in the principle of financial self-reliance. From the very beginning, BEN decided not to seek and receive any money from the government or from any foreign donor organization. It decided to rely only on the members’ contributions. In the context of Bangladesh, this means that BEN is not an NGO. This financial self-reliance helps BEN to maintain its independence, objectivity, and dignity. Through its example, BEN wants to promote a culture of self-reliant and selfless work for the betterment of Bangladesh. It is a matter of great satisfaction that BAPA also adopted the principle of financial self-reliance. It is this principle that distinguishes BEN and BAPA from many other organizations working on environmental issues in Bangladesh. It is because of this principle that BAPA and BEN have earned respect and admiration in Bangladesh.
Non-hierarchical organization: BEN is a non-hierarchical organization. Anybody, who believes in BEN vision, mission, and its principles, can become a member of BEN. BEN membership does not require any fee. One can also leave BEN whenever he or she wishes. Activities of BEN are coordinated by a Coordinating Committee. All members of this committee have equal rights. They choose a Coordinator, and specific members take on specific tasks, as and when required, on a voluntary basis.
Consensus decision making: BEN follows consensus decision making, instead of division and vote. This has allowed BEN to preserve unity and avoid dissension and factionalism. Disputes are resolved through discussion and reasoning and decisions are not taken until consensus is reached. Since BEN members are motivated by greater concerns only, and there are no vested interests, reason prevails and reaching consensus does not prove too difficult.
Non-partisan character: BEN stays away from narrow, partisan politics. Instead BEN tries to engage all political parties that fought for independent Bangladesh in the task of protecting the country’s environment. BEN is aware that it is ultimately the political parties that form the government, which has the main role in protecting the environment. BEN therefore tries to make the political parties aware of the environmental issues and inform them about the steps necessary to solve these issues.
All BEN chapters follow the above principles.