- The CEOS of Visa, Bank of America, Salesforce and other Fortune 500 companies have joined the Council for Inclusive Capitalism With the Vatican.
- The council, led by Pope Francis, will promote a more inclusive form of capitalism, encouraging leaders to advance fairer policies and reduce inequality in society.
- The members companies represent more than $10.5 trillion in assets under management.
- “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,” a representative from the council said.
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The move toward a kinder capitalism just got religious.
The CEOS of Bank of America, Visa, EY, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Salesforce, and several other Fortune 500 companies are joining forces with Pope Francis to promote a more inclusive form of capitalism in a new organization called the Council for Inclusive Capitalism With the Vatican.
To join, business leaders must commit to measurable steps to create a more equitable and fair economic system, including adherence to the UN’s sustainable development goals. As part of the commitment, the companies must take steps toward ending poverty, providing access to clear water, and reducing income inequality.
This is not the first time the pope has taken a strong stance on capitalism. In the third encyclical of his papacy in October, Pope Francis rebuked free market capitalism. An encyclical is a way for religious leaders to establish a historical record of the church’s teachings at the time. He’s also repeatedly called for leaders to combat “dismal” inequality with fairer policies.
In 2013, Pope Francis wrote a long statement, called an apostolic exhortation, chiding trickle-down economics, or the belief that as the rich get richer, their wealth trickles down and lifts up the middle class and poor as well.
“The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith,” he wrote in the encyclical letter.
In a statement, Pope Francis said an economic system that is more trustworthy is “urgently needed,” adding that the business leaders on the council “have taken up the challenge by seeking ways to make capitalism become a more inclusive instrument for integral human well-being.”
The member companies of the new council represent more than $10.5 trillion in assets under management, companies with over $2.1 trillion of market capitalization, and 200 million workers in over 163 countries.
“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,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild, founder of the Council and managing partner of Inclusive Capital Partners.