Pope Francis Issues Call for Action on Sustainable Development at Rome Conference of Experts and Activists

Pope Francis Issues Call for Action on Sustainable Development at Rome Conference of Experts and Activists

Global faith leaders can directly and indirectly affect significant changes in our global society.  One leader with high visibility and strong opinions on important societal issues is the Holy Father in Rome, Pope Francis.  The Roman Catholic Church as a collective institution is one of the largest owners and holders of assets in the world, including pension systems of various orders, Catholic charities, healthcare systems, and more.

The Roman Catholic Church’s policy is guided by important encyclicals issued by the Pope in the Vatican City.  For example, the contents of the historic 1891 encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on capital and labor and the rights of both (and concerns about the Industrial Age working class) continues to reverberate even today in discussions about corporate-labor and public sector-labor issues (this was “Rerum Novarum”).

Amidst the rising discussion worldwide about climate change and the need for action, Pope Francis issued “Laudato Si” (Our Home) in May 2015.  This is a powerful work addressing environmental and ecology issues, especially including the need for action on climate change. This work called on the world society – and especially the institutions of the R.C. church – to address the urgent threats posed by climate change.  (The subtitle was “On care for our common home”.)

As part of the public dialogue, Pope Francis addressed the joint houses of the U.S. Congress in May 2015 and received 37 standing ovations as he addressed climate change, common needs, risk to our common home (the Earth), the responsibility of richer nations, and other societal challenges.

The discussion continues:  the Roman Catholic Church convened a three-day conference earlier this month in Rome to bring together experts and activists in human development, the environment and healthcare.

To – as Pope Francis explained – explore new paths of constructive development … development having been “…almost entirely limited to economic growth… [which] is leading the world down a dangerous path where progress is assessed only in terms of economic growth.”

The title of the conference:  “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals:  Listening to the Cry of the Earth and of the Poor”. The theme:  “Without a change of attitude that focuses on the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants, efforts to achieve the SDGs will not be sufficient for a fair and reasonable world order.”

Said the Holy Father, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics:  “No branch of science or form of wisdom should be overlooked, and this includes religions and the languages particular to them.” 

Our Top Story is the news report of the Catholic News Service out of Rome with background on the conference and related information.

Background on the historic significance of Laudato Si (Our Home), Pope Francis’s encyclical is in the “Trends Converging! – A Look Ahead of the Curve” essays by G&A Chair Hank Boerner, available (chapter 44) online.  

This Week's Top Story

Pope: World in need of ‘ecological conversion’ to advance sustainability   
 (Tuesday - March 12, 2019) Source: Cux Now - ROME - Sustainable development cannot be achieved without the voices of those affected by the exploitation of the earth’s resources, especially the poor, migrants, indigenous people and young men and women, Pope Francis told... 

Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!

Lots of attention now on the fashion, apparel, footwear, accessories businesses…and “sustainability” branding…

Building a Sustainable Brand: How to Get Started
(Wednesday - March 13, 2019) Source: Business of Fashion - Finding a way to make clothes without harming workers or damaging the environment is one of the industry’s most daunting challenges. That doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t give it a try. 

These are the most popular sustainable products to buy right now
(Wednesday - March 13, 2019) Source: Glamour - Now, global fashion search platform, Lyst, has given us a glimpse of what 2019 holds for sustainable fashion, and it seems our love of contemporary, eco-friendly brands isn't slowing any time soon. 

Sustainability: Sports Brands Choose Different Strategies
(Tuesday - March 12, 2019) Source: ISPO - Sustainability is the trend. Hardly any other topic keeps exhibitors and visitors at ISPO Munich 2019 more busy than environmental protection. Environmentally friendly materials, recycling, longevity and avoidance of pollutants... 

Younger professionals need to push the sustainability rebellion
(Wednesday - March 13, 2019) Source: Crain's Cleveland Business - I've heard "the 'S' word" be compared to a spectrum of ideas, like "going green, "corporate citizenship" or "warm-n-fuzzy nonsense." I've even witnessed environmental impact analysts being referred to as "those bugs and bunnies...

Storytelling for Sustainability: How Opening Up Can Open a Whole New Frontier
(Thursday - March 14, 2019) Source: Sustainable Brands - Our community has made tremendous strides in building a better world, but if we leverage the combined power of people and data to build a better narrative, we can open up a whole new era of possibilities. We’ve got to put some...

Six Steps to a More Ethical and Sustainable Supply Chain
(Thursday - March 14, 2019) Source: Supply Chain Brain - Consumers are more conscientious about their purchases than ever before. They expect organizations to meet a certain set of ethical standards, and supply chains aren’t exempt from scrutiny...

13 Stories Showing that Family Farming can be the Future for Agriculture
(Friday - March 15, 2019) Source: FoodTank - Since last year, Food Tank’s Farmer Friday series has been telling the stories of farmers and ranchers focusing on sustainable farming practices. These practices include crop rotation, grassy waterways, preserving reconstructed...

NYU Stern Research Illustrates ROI for Sustainably Marketed Products
(Friday - March 15, 2019) Source: Sustainable Brands - Seminal research shows that sustainability is driving market growth in CPGs; products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6x faster than conventionally marketed products, and 3.3x faster than the CPG market.

...and Corporate Sustainability Actions

Buzzfeed CEO aims company toward sustainability amid digital media industry struggles
(Monday - March 11, 2019) Source: CNN - The internet is at a crossroads," he wrote in a strategy memo to staff recently. "In one direction, there is a flaming dumpster fire, pushing people apart. In the other, the internet is a source of joy and truth, connecting...

Signify highlights progress on sustainability targets
(Tuesday - March 12, 2019) Source: Climate Change News - Signify, the world leader in lighting, made significant progress toward its sustainability targets set for 2020 as part of its Brighter Lives, Better World program. 

Unrolling Charmin’s Sustainability Claims
(Wednesday - March 13, 2019) Source: NRDC - The toilet paper giant, Charmin, makes a lot of claims about its environmental impact and commitments on its website, but how are they really doing?

Expert: Renewable Energy Not Enough for Bitcoin's Sustainability Problem
(Friday - March 15, 2019) Source: Coin Telegraph - Renewable energy will not solve Bitcoin’s (BTC) sustainability problem according to a blockchain specialist at Big Four auditing company PwC, Alex de Vries. De Vries presented his argument in a study published in sustainable... 

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ESG Topics & Issues Headlines

China expands switch from polluting coal heating in 2018: environment minister
(Tuesday - March 12, 2019) Source: Reuters 

EPA says fuel economy rose in 2017, but it may be falling again  
(Tuesday - March 12, 2019) Source: Green Car Reports 

Most companies recognize climate risk, few act
(Wednesday - March 13, 2019)  Source: Business Insurance

UN's 'dire' warning: Act now on Earth's environment as human health 'increasingly threatened'  
(Thursday - March 14, 2019) Source: USA Today

Diesel trucks would be nearly eliminated in California under proposed law
(Thursday - March 14, 2019)  Source: SF Chronicle

Headlines From the Corporate Sector

Starbucks and Monsanto Sue Vermont
(Saturday - March 09, 2019)  Source: Snopes.com 

Trader Joe's ditches plastics for more sustainable options nationwide
(Monday - March 11, 2019) Source: KUTV 

Levi's now blending hemp with cotton for more sustainable fabric
(Monday - March 11, 2019) Source: TreeHugger

Coke, NRC team up on recycling
(Thursday - March 14, 2019)  Source: The Business Journals 

And in Auto Industry News

Kia Motors considers suspending its No.1 plant in China: source
(Monday - March 11, 2019) Source: Reuters 

Honda to recall about 1 million older cars over air-bag danger — again
(Tuesday - March 12, 2019) Source: MarketWatch 

Volkswagen is betting its future on electric cars
(Wednesday - March 13, 2019) Source: CNN

862,520 Fiat-Chrysler vehicles have emissions issues, will be recalled
(Friday - March 15, 2019) Source: Ars Technica

SEC alleges Volkswagen 'perpetrated a massive fraud' and repeatedly lied to US investors
(Friday - March 15, 2019)
 Source: CNBC 

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