Pope Francis Partners with Global CEOs to Promote ‘Inclusive Capitalism’

Pope Francis thumbs up as he arrives for his weekly general audience in the St Peter's square on October 12, 2016 in Vatican. / AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty

ROME — Pope Francis has partnered with leaders of major corporations and organizations such as BP, Johnson & Johnson, DuPont, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Visa, and Estée Lauder to form the Council for Inclusive Capitalism.

“The Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican is a global nonprofit organization established under the auspices of the Vatican with the moral guidance of Pope Francis,” the group announced Tuesday. “Our mission is to harness the potential of the private sector to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and trusted form of capitalism.”

“The Council is led by a core group of global CEOs and public leaders, known as the Guardians for Inclusive Capitalism, who convene annually with the Vatican to advance the Council’s mission,” the press release stated.

Despite his frequent denunciations of capitalism, the pope has reportedly endorsed the group, comprising businesses, investors, and other groups that represent $2.1 trillion in market cap and 200 million employees.

“An economic system that is fair, trustworthy, and capable of addressing the most profound challenges facing humanity and our planet is urgently needed,” the pontiff told members of the Council. “You have taken up the challenge by seeking ways to make capitalism become a more inclusive instrument for integral human wellbeing.”

The founder of the Council and Managing Partner of Inclusive Capital Partners, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, said the initiative is meant as a response to the pope’s call for businesses to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

“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,” said Ms. Forester de Rothschild. “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.”

The commitments made by member companies include increasing representation of females and persons of color in upper management, transition to renewable energy, growth in annual spending with Black suppliers, the promotion of gender equality, eventual net-zero carbon emissions, and promotion of biodiversity.

Pope Francis has issued repeated calls for his version of a global reset following the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will be able to regenerate society and not return to so-called ‘normality,’ which is an ailing normality, indeed which was ailing before the pandemic: the pandemic highlighted it!” the pope said in late September, adding that the old normality “was sick with injustice, inequality and environmental degradation.”

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