ICCR Welcomes Laudato Si, Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment

Jun 16th 2015

Faith-based shareholder advocates promoting corporate responsibility declare readiness to join in harnessing the political and moral courage required to chart a course towards justice and sustainability.

NEW YORK, NY, TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015 - Today, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a shareholder coalition of faith-based and responsible investors, welcome Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. With this Encyclical, the Holy Father reminds all of us of the centrality of the creation narratives in all religious traditions, and issues a vital message regarding our shared moral responsibility to live in harmony with the environment. He will also be asking us to care for and serve God’s creation and safeguard it for future generations.

ICCR members call upon the world’s most powerful corporations to address their impacts on the environment and communities, particularly the world’s most vulnerable communities, in an effort to build a more just and sustainable world. Since our inception in the early 1970s when several Protestant denominations joined their voices as investors to protest against the racist Apartheid system in South Africa, the social teachings of the diverse faith traditions of our members, including Catholic Social Teaching, have served as the foundation and inspiration for ICCR’s work to integrate environmental, social and governance measures into evaluations of corporate performance.

For over four decades, ICCR’s membership of over 300 institutions representing more than $100 billion in assets under management has worked for the ethical transformation of the corporate sector through active and comprehensive shareholder engagement across all business sectors. Our efforts to build more transparent and ethical financial institutions, to safeguard worker safety and health, to rid global supply chains of human trafficking and slavery, and to promote business practices that protect the human right to safe and accessible water and food are helping to place social and environmental sustainability at the top of corporate agendas. Our members’ engagements with corporations to mitigate their environmental impacts and, specifically, the impacts of climate change, began over 25 years ago and are documented in our recently released paper, Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing in a Climate-Challenged World.

“Among virtually all faith groups is a universal call to be in right relationship with the earth, to act as responsible stewards of the planet, and to preserve its health and resources for future generations,” said Rev. Séamus Finn, OMI, ICCR’s Board Chair. “With a missionary presence and faith-based relationships in the world’s most vulnerable communities, faith institutions rec­ognize climate change’s potential to exacerbate the suffering caused by extreme poverty and inequality which are at the root of so many existing social justice issues. The environmental crisis facing our planet transcends politics, economics and science; it is, at bottom, a moral and ethical crisis. In issuing Laudato Si, the Holy Father is reminding us of our duty to restore our right relationship with the earth, which is one of harmony and respect for God’s creation.”

Said Laura Berry, ICCR’s Executive Director, “As one of the world’s most prominent religious leaders, Pope Francis has issued a call to action that we know will be heard around the globe and one that we hope will be heeded by all people. The Encyclical calls us to introspection and action to address the climate change crisis. As Pope Francis reminds us, we must respond to the urgency of climate change now. As faith-based and responsible investors, the ICCR community declares its readiness to join with all who are resolved to harness the political and moral courage required to reverse the destructive path we have chosen for far too long. We are grateful to Pope Francis for his inspired leadership and we welcome his teaching and guidance through this important Encyclical.” 

ICCR member comments in support of Pope Francis’ Encyclical can be found here.

 About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)

Currently celebrating its 44th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with 
over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.