Pope Francis poses 3 challenges to CEOs: Care of the environment, the poor and young people

By David Ramos

June 15, 2024

Jun 15, 2024

When receiving company and bank executives at the Vatican this Saturday, June 15, Pope Francis posed three challenges to them: “care for the environment, care for the poor and care for young people.”

The Holy Father assured business leaders that “the functions they are called to perform are increasingly decisive not only in economic life, but also in social and political life.”

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“Large companies are entities that impact the dynamics of international relations. You find yourself, therefore, making decisions that impact thousands and thousands of workers and investors, and increasingly on a global scale,” she indicated, warning that “economic power is intertwined with political power.”

“Large companies, in fact, in addition to consumption, savings and production options, also determine the destiny of governments, national and international public policies, and the sustainability of development,” he highlighted.

The Pope encouraged CEOs to look “critically, with discernment” at the reality in which they find themselves, in order “to be able to fully exercise responsibility for the direct and indirect effects of their choices.”

Current business innovation must be that of “caring for our common home”

Pope Francis encouraged business leaders to “put the environment and the earth at the center of their attention and responsibility,” because “we are in a time of serious environmental crisis, which depends on many issues and many factors, including decisions economic and business of yesterday and today.”

“It is no longer enough to respect the laws of the States, which advance too slowly: it is necessary to innovate by anticipating the future, with brave and forward-thinking options that can be imitated,” he said.

“The innovation of today’s businessman must be, above all, innovation in the care of our common home,” he expressed.

“Don’t discard people”

The Holy Father then pointed out to them the importance of “not forgetting the poorest and the discarded.”

“The ‘circular economy’ has become a keyword, which invites us to reuse and recycle waste. However, although we recycle materials and material waste, we have not yet learned – allow me the expression – to ‘recycle’ and not to discard people, workers, especially the most fragile, for whom the culture of throwaway often exists.” , said.

The Pope warned about “a certain ‘meritocracy’ that is used to legitimize the exclusion of the poor, considered deserving, to the point of considering poverty itself as a fault. And don’t settle for a little philanthropy, it is very little: the challenge is to include the poor in companies, to turn them into resources for a common advantage.”

“It is possible,” he expressed, ensuring that he dreams “of a world in which the rejected can become protagonists of change, but it seems to me that a certain Jesus has already achieved it, don’t you think?”

A “corporate hospitality” with young people

The Pontiff then lamented that “young people are often among the poor of our time: poor in resources, opportunities and future.”

“You cannot learn any job without ‘corporate hospitality’, which means generously welcoming young people even when they do not have the necessary experience and skills, because every job is only learned by working,” he said.

“I encourage you to be generous, to welcome young people into your companies, giving them a vision of the future, so as not to make an entire generation lose hope,” the Pope encouraged.

At the end of his message, Pope Francis asked God to help CEOs use the responsibility they have and “make brave decisions, for the benefit of the environment, the poor and young people.”

“It will be the most fruitful investment, even economically,” he assured.

David Ramos

David Ramos
Graduated in Communication Sciences from the Universidad Privada del Norte in Trujillo, Peru. With more than 12 years of experience in Catholic journalism working at ACI Prensa, I have been based in Mexico since 2018. I have covered Pope Francis’ trips to Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Panama.

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