Upon reading the much anticipated Papal Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, I found myself immediately looking for ways to get it into the hands of the CEOs I know. While it is a genuinely great read, it is even better as a resource for institutionalizing ethical business principles, and a brilliant illustration of what servant leadership looks like.
There will be many interpretations of this Encyclical. Even before its release, detractors denounced it as political and economic “meddling”, a “rehash”, and a full frontal assault on fossil fuels. But I remain hopeful that more forward-thinking CEOs will hear the deeper ideas he is proposing. Pope Francis is clearly extending an invitation to corporate leaders who authentically wish to be a part of the solution to help heal the world.
In my 25-plus years serving as director of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office for my order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, I have helped corporate CEOs and their executives face and mitigate the environmental and social impacts of their global operations. I have done this work in coalition with other investors and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, who believe that companies that do good in the world, also do well financially.