The Vatican released Pope Francis’ much anticipated ecology encyclical, Laudato Si’, today. Since his election in March 2013, Pope Francis has frequently shown concern for the environment: in his inaugural Mass homily, he called on everyone to be “protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” Francis has continued the strong message of concern for the environment that his predecessor, Benedict XVI, conveyed, and in the Laudato Si’ points to the role corporations and investors should play in working collaboratively to pursue solutions that will improve people’s lives, especially the poor and vulnerable.
CBIS has long considered environmental stewardship a key part of our Catholic Responsible Investing℠ approach that has been adopted by hundreds of Catholic organizations around the world. CBIS has been engaging companies on behalf of Catholic investors in regard to environmental issues and other issues that undermine human dignity. We push corporations to adopt more responsible policies and strategies that help fulfill the mission of the Church and promote the common good. For example, earlier this year, BP and Royal Dutch Shell made strong public commitments to assess how their activities impact the environment and to evaluate possible alternatives. Since 2005, CBIS has been engaging Newmont Mining about how its operations affect natural resources on which local communities, particularly in developing countries, depend.
Laudato Si’ comes as investor interest in the environment is high, and over 150 resolutions on the environment and sustainable governance have been filed in the last year alone urging public companies to provide greater transparency around energy use and plans for sustainable corporate growth.
CBIS plans to issue commentary on Laudato Si’ this summer. The full text of the encyclical can be found here.