UN Global Compact writes to Pope Francis on business as a force for good

Pope Francis

PRI partner the UN Global Compact has written an open letter to the representative of His Holiness Pope Francis in New York saying that the recent papal encyclical on environmental principles “should inspire the private sector to do more to protect the environment and address climate change”.

The UN Global Compact, which has more than 8,500 businesses worldwide pledged to adhere to core UN principles, offers its network-based infrastructure as “a bridge, connecting the encyclical’s vision of integral ecology with practical efforts underway to mobilize responsible business.” The letter highlights the critical role business and investors play in advancing sustainable business practices and being catalysts “for a just, inclusive and low-carbon economy.”

The Pope is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on 25 September, at the outset of a summit weekend at which more than 150 heads of state will attend, and member states will officially ratify a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs), including action on climate change. The SDG document, agreed in its final form last week, calls on the private sector to engage as a full partner in eradicating poverty, attaining social justice and protecting the planet. CEOs attending a forum organized by the UN Global Compact the following day will be announcing commitments and partnerships to empower the effort.

The open letter asks the Pope, while at the United Nations, “to call directly upon business and financial markets to do more to care for our climate and our common home”, and says that, “in markets all over the world, we want to ensure that the encyclical is heard and the ethic of care it heralds is appreciated”. The UN Global Compact offers its support in convening further dialogue within its diverse international network of business actors, civil society partners and labour organisations.