The Laudato si’ encyclical Pope Francis issued in 2015 contains teachings and invitations dealing with almost every aspect of our lives with regard to the “care for our common home”. The encyclical talks about economy and financial investments, too, by examining their role in shaping a more sustainable development model.
In particular, some passages of the encyclical clearly focus on fossil fuels.
Below you can find those passages. Don’t forget that the full text of the encyclical is available (in eight languages) on the Holy See’s website.
The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system (par. 23).
There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy (par. 26).
We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay (par. 165).
Their reasonings being grounded mainly in what the encyclical says, a large and growing number of religious institutions and organizations, not only from the Catholic world, joined the international campaign for the fossil fuel divestment, which Mondosri has followed very closely over the last two years and more.
As is widely known, the campaign calls on institutional investors first, but retail investors as well, to divest from fossil fuel companies, so that those financial resources can be re-invested in companies, initiatives, technologies that can accelerate a just transition towards a low-carbon and more sustainable development model. The ultimate goal being the fight against climate change.
The latest report released by Arabella Advisors (a Certified B Corp) on December 12th, the day the world celebrated the first anniversary of the Paris agreement, says that the campaign has been joined so far by investors controlling $5.2 trillion in assets. And faith-based organizations, along with philanthropic institutions, represent the most numerous group.
The Catholic world, but once again not only, looking at the encyclical as a guide to orient and align investments with religious values, will gather in Rome next week, on January 27th, at the conference “Laudato Si & Catholic Investing: Clean Energy for our Common Home” to be held at the Pontifical Lateran University.
I think the event could represent a turning point. On that occasion, I mean, the foundations of a new way to look at, interpret and implement Sri could be laid, very closely related to Pope Francis’ encyclical as for the elaboration of principles and criteria. In short, a new paradigma in sustainable and responsible investment.
Of course I don’t know what’s going to happen in Rome on January 27th and after. But I’m tremendously interested in. We’re just ten days away from the event and I can’t wait to hear what will be said at the conference by a so eminent panel of speakers.
So, see you in Rome.