Pope Francis speaks during the general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace Dec. 9, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.
The Council for Inclusive Capitalism launched a partnership with the Vatican on Tuesday, saying that it would be “under the moral guidance” of Pope Francis.
The council consists of global companies and organizations which share a mission to “harness the private sector to create a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system,” according to its website.
Members include the Ford Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, Bank of America, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Merck.
According to a press release from the council, the partnership with the Vatican “signifies the urgency of joining moral and market imperatives to reform capitalism into a powerful force for the good of humanity.”
Pope Francis met with members of the organization at the Vatican last year. With the new partnership, the 27 leading members, called “guardians,” will continue to meet annually with Pope Francis and Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Francis encouraged the council last year to renew existing economic models to be fair, trustworthy, and capable of extending opportunities to all.
“An inclusive capitalism that leaves no one behind, that discards none of our brothers or sisters, is a noble aspiration,” Pope Francis said 11 November 2019.
Members of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism make public commitments to “advance inclusive capitalism” in their own companies and outside them, through grants promoting various issues, including environmental sustainability and gender equality.
The Vatican partnership puts the group “under the moral guidance” of Pope Francis and Cardinal Turkson, a press release states.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild, founder of the council and managing partner of Inclusive Capital Partners, said “capitalism has created enormous global prosperity, but it has also left too many people behind, led to degradation of our planet, and is not widely trusted in society.”
“This Council will follow the warning from Pope Francis to listen to ‘the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ and answer society’s demands for a more equitable and sustainable model of growth.”
On its website, the council sets out the “guiding principles” for its activities.
“We consider that Inclusive Capitalism is fundamentally about creating long-term value for all stakeholders – businesses, investors, employees, customers, governments, communities, and the planet,” it states.
To do this, it continues, members are “guided by an approach” that provides “equality of opportunity for all people … equitable outcomes for those who have the same opportunities and seize them in the same way; fairness across generations so that one generation does not overburden the planet or realize near-term benefits that incur long-term costs at the cost of future generations; and fairness to those in society whose circumstances prevent them from full participation in the economy.”
The pope warned the business leaders last year that “an economic system detached from ethical concerns” leads to a “throw away” culture of consumption and waste.
“When we recognize the moral dimension of economic life, which is one of the many aspects of Catholic social doctrine that must be integrally respected, we are able to act with fraternal charity, desiring, seeking and protecting the good of others and their integral development,” he explained.
“As my predecessor St. Paul VI reminded us, authentic development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone, but must foster the growth of each person and of the whole person,” Francis said. “This means more than balancing budgets, improving infrastructures or offering a wider variety of consumer goods.”
“What is needed is a fundamental renewal of hearts and minds so that the human person may always be placed at the centre of social, cultural and economic life.”