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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Philanthropy not enough, Pope urges business leaders to do better in attaining social justice

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Addressing the managing directors and employees of major companies and banks over the weekend, Pope Francis called for significant changes in how businesses operate, emphasizing the need to focus on environmental sustainability, inclusion of the poor, and opportunities for the youth.

The meeting, held on Saturday morning at the Holy See, brought together members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, a private-sector environmental network.

According to the Vatican News, Pope Francis drew attention to the substantial impact these leaders’ decisions have, affecting thousands of workers and influencing government policies.

The leader of the Catholic Church stressed the urgent need to prioritize environmental concerns, urging business leaders to move beyond mere legal compliance.

“It is no longer enough to merely comply with the laws of states, which are proceeding too slowly,” Pope Francis said, considering the urgency of the climate crisis.  

He called for innovative and bold actions that anticipate future needs and set examples for others to follow.

“The innovation of the entrepreneur nowadays must first and foremost be innovation in caring for our common home,” the Pope declared.

The pontiff also stated the importance of including the poor in business activities, challenging the notion of meritocracy that often excludes them.

He criticized the reliance of some companies on minimal philanthropic efforts, advocating instead for integrating the poor into the workforce.

“The challenge is to include the poor in businesses,” he said, envisioning a world where “the discarded can become protagonists of change.”

Turning his attention to the struggles of young people, Pope Francis urged business leaders to create opportunities for them, even if they lack experience.

“Be generous,” he encouraged, “giving young people a glimpse of the future so that an entire generation does not lose hope.”

Pope Francis concluded his speech with a prayer for divine guidance in making courageous choices and thanked his guests for their pioneering efforts.

“I thank you for what you are doing,” he said. “You are pioneers – do not be discouraged, but continue to be pioneers.”

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