Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Big Business Join Vatican Affiliated Council Promising Inclusive Capitalism

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Big business finds religion.

CEOs of Bank of America, BP, Johnson & johnson, Salesforce, and many others Fortune 500 companies join the Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican, a new business organization affiliated with the Catholic Church and operating under “the moral leadership of Pope Francis”. Fortune is a media partner of the council, which also includes policymakers and the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, and which was launched on Tuesday.

“A fair, trustworthy economic system capable of meeting the deepest challenges facing humanity and our planet is urgently needed,” Pope Francis said in a press release, adding that businesses and leaders of The consultancy firm challenges it in seeking ways to make capitalism a more inclusive instrument for integral human well-being.

The council, which says its goal is “to build a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable economic base for the world”, is the latest effort by big business to rethink capitalism and its effects on stakeholders, not just shareholders. . “The dialogue has radically changed around these types of things,” said Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, one of the board’s “Guardian” leaders. Fortune.

“Capitalism is there to do the right thing, if it’s managed properly,” he adds. “We make people say, ‘It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s morally the right thing to do and the right thing to do.’

The 28 companies and organizations that have joined the Council have made a specific commitment to adopt its four guiding principles: equal opportunities for all; equitable results; intergenerational equity; and equity to members of society whose circumstances prevent them from fully participating in the economy. Bank of America, for example, has committed to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions it finances by 2023, and in the same time frame to hire and provide vocational training to 10,000 people in low- and middle-income neighborhoods. (These commitments predate the launch of the council, but Moynihan says they are “educated on what inclusion means here as well as … other groups we work with.”)

“Doing this is not just a market imperative. It’s not just about chasing the ESG dollar, ”said Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder of the Board and Managing Partner of Inclusive Capital Partners. Fortune in another interview on Monday. “Financial markets are such a powerful force that we must remember that our actions, who we are and what we are, is based on morality and ethics. And so the Holy Father really asks us to put the profits at the service of the planet and of men.

The board developed from a global forum at the Vatican in 2016, organized by Fortune and Time, and a convocation of business leaders there to meet Pope Francis.

“Our great challenge is to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local and even personal sense of responsibility so that no one is excluded from participation in society”, the Pope told participants at this meeting. “I encourage you to… seek ever more creative ways to transform our institutions and economic structures so that they can meet the needs of our times and serve the human person, especially those who are marginalized and empowered. scum.”

Four years later, de Rothschild recognizes that current and future board members still have a lot of work to do. “At next year’s meeting, we will measure, we will see how we have met our commitments,” she said.

She acknowledges that some companies “might decide they don’t want to try, and they might separate” from the board, but she also maintains the faith. “What we have already established among ourselves is the Christian idea of ​​redemption,” she said. “We will fail. But that’s no reason not to try.

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