Pope Francis Wades into Institutional Investing, Calls for Changes in Capitalism

Posted on 12/10/2020

The Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican is a new partnership between some of the world’s largest investment and business leaders and the Vatican. In this unusual pairing, big business and Pope Francis are coming to terms on how businesses should operate. The pontiff has on numerous occasions criticized capitalism in blistering terms. In October, Pope Francis said that the coronavirus pandemic has proven that the “magic theories” of market capitalism have failed. He added that the world needs a new type of politics that promotes dialogue and solidarity and rejects war at all costs.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Peter Turkson, who leads the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican, is wading into the world of capitalism and its current practices. Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. The Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican is led by a core group of global leaders, known as Guardians for Inclusive Capitalism, who meet annually with Pope Francis and Cardinal Turkson. These business executives represent more than US$ 10.5 trillion in assets under management, companies with over US$ 2.1 trillion of market capitalization, and 200 million workers in over 163 countries.

The Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican joins moral and market imperatives to reform capitalism.

Speaking to the Guardians, Pope Francis said, “An economic system that is fair, trustworthy, and capable of addressing the most profound challenges facing humanity and our planet is urgently needed. You have taken up the challenge by seeking ways to make capitalism become a more inclusive instrument for integral human wellbeing.”

“Capitalism has created enormous global prosperity, but it has also left too many people behind, led to degradation of our planet, and is not widely trusted in society,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder of the Council and Managing Partner of Inclusive Capital Partners. “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.”

Long History of Rothschild and the Vatican

Lynn Forester de Rothschild is the CEO of of E.L. Rothschild, a holding company she owns with her third husband, Sir Evelyn Robert de Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild family. The Rothschild family made their wealth through banking over the centuries. The family generated billions by lending to European kingdoms and countries in times of war over the centuries. The Rothschilds also backed companies including DeBeers, Eramet, Rio Tinto Mining Company, and Chemins de Fer du Nord. Interestingly, after the Napoleonic Wars, James Mayer de Rothschild, head of the Rothschild banking family of France (Banque Rothschild), became the official Papal banker.

The full list of Guardians is as follows:
Ajay Banga, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard
Oliver Bäte, Chairman of the Board of Management, Allianz SE
Marc Benioff, Chair, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder, Salesforce
Edward Breen, Executive Chairman, Dupont
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
Mark Carney, COP26 Financial Advisor to the Prime Minister, and United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance
Carmine Di Sibio, Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EY
Brunello Cucinelli, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A.
Roger Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer, TIAA
Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder and Managing Partner, Inclusive Capital Partners
Kenneth Frazier, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.
Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Estée Lauder Companies
Marcie Frost, Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS
Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson
Angel Gurria, Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Alfred Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Visa Inc.
William Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies
Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer, BP
Fiona Ma, Treasurer, State of California
Hiro Mizuno, Member of the Board, Principles for Responsible Investment
Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America
Deanna Mulligan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Ronald P. O’Hanley, President and Chief Executive Officer, State Street Corporation
Rajiv Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Tidjane Thiam, Board Member, Kering Group
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
Mark Weinberger, Former Chair and CEO of EY, and Board member of J&J, MetLife and Saudi Aramco

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