Today’s s ecological and social crises raise new ethical challenges for Catholics and people of good will. We are all called to respond with, among other things, more sustainable lifestyle choices and a re-examination of how our money is being invested.
In this paper we provide evidence that the conventional understanding of socially responsible investment generally accepted by Catholic investors is no longer ethically sufficient or scientifically sound. This is because we need to face the reality of what is happening to our common home and respond to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
Given these crises, the purpose of this paper is to assist Catholic individuals and institutions to align their investments with Catholic beliefs and values. Pope Francis’ historic encyclical Laudato si’: On Care for our Common Home provides the direction for us to respond to many issues in our care for each other, and our care for the earth. Laudato Si’ articulates the Catholic principles that can be used to inform how we invest 1 . Laudato Si’ draws on Church Social Teaching, the Judeo Christian tradition and the best available science. It makes clear the importance of responding to biodiversity loss, water and climate change and their root causes.
Pope Francis calls for widespread economic, social and political reform based on a new principle he calls “integral ecology”” (para. 11; Chapter 4). His Holiness states that on climate change there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act. Unprecedented destruction could happen due to the disruption of the climate (para. 24, para. 161). 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, by substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy (para. 26, para. 165).
This paper describes the process of applying Catholic Social Teaching principles, including integral ecology, to our investments as individuals and institutions.Download the full PDF here